The owner of South Louisiana Home Health Care Inc. and the director of nursing for the Louisiana home health agency were sentenced for their roles in a Medicare fraud scheme involving the payment of kickbacks and the falsification of documents.
The owner of South Louisiana Home Health Care operated this company along with his former wife, who served as the company’s director of nursing. They were sentenced by U.S. District Judge James J. Brady of the Middle District of Louisiana to 180 months and 60 months in prison, respectively, and ordered to forfeit $9.2 million and pay $17.1 in restitution.
After a jury trial in March 2013, the owner and director of nursing were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and the owner also was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay or receive illegal health care kickbacks. The director of nursing previously was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay or receive illegal health care kickbacks after a jury trial in October 2012.
According to evidence presented at trial, the owner and director of nursing paid kickbacks to patient recruiters to obtain Medicare beneficiary information. Nurses, including the registered nurse director of nursing, then falsified qualification documents to make it appear that these beneficiaries qualified for home health services. The evidence also showed that the owner hired and paid kickbacks to medical doctors to sign fraudulent referrals and certifications for home health services that were not medically necessary. The owner and director of nursing then used the Medicare beneficiary information and false documents to bill Medicare for the medically unnecessary home health services. From 2005 through 2011, Medicare paid South Louisiana Home Health Care approximately $17.1 million based on these fraudulent home health care claims.
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