Wheels of Fortune

48

You’ve seen the ads on TV: motor-powered wheelchairs that can restore mobility for those who can’t walk without assistance, or at all. (Considered equipment that Medicare covers only when they are deemed medically necessary by a physician.) Perhaps one California pair decided they did not want to spring for the cost of an infomercial and instead chose to swindle the government out of nearly $2 million by submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare. According to an article in MyNewsLA.com, a San Fernando Valley man and his accomplice claimed more than $1.8 million in Medicare reimbursements on behalf of ”clients” of their medical supply business.

But most of the claims turned out to be for power wheelchairs for people that the couple recruited off the street—people who did not actually need the equipment. (You have to wonder—what was the pitch? ”Take it for a spin—you’ll never want to walk anywhere again!”) The medical malefactors walked off with almost $900,000 in a scheme that involved phony paperwork and failure to deliver the promised equipment. (Which is kind of beside the point if it wasn’t needed in the first place.)

After a trial, both fraudsters were convicted of five counts of health care fraud and prosecutors sought four-year sentences for each. The man was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and his partner in crime was given probation of four years of home detention. (That’s a lot of infomercials.) They must jointly pay $814,445 in restitution to Medicare.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Prison for Medicare power-wheelchair $1.8M scam,” written by Debbie L. Sklar and published by the MyNewsLA.com on May 31, 2016.

A San Fernando Valley resident who submitted more than $1.8 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare — mostly for medically unnecessary power wheelchairs — was sentenced to federal prison. Abdul King Garba, 50, was sentenced to 21 months. His co-defendant, Queen Anieze-Smith, 54, was sentenced to probation of four years in home detention. They were ordered jointly liable for restitution of $814,445.

Garba and Anieze-Smith were convicted of five counts of health care fraud. The couple billed Medicare for beneficiaries often recruited off the street who didn’t need the equipment. As part of their scheme, they falsified paperwork and sometimes failed to deliver the wheelchairs, raking in nearly $900,000 for the bogus claims.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.