Corporate Compliance

Third defendant pleads guilty to Medicare fraud in Texas

Compliance Monitor, March 5, 2008

A third defendant pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy in Houston, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Anthony D. Thurman, 26, his mother, Sandra Thurman Patino, 44, and his cousin, Katrice Oliver, 25, owed and operated two durable medical equipment (DME) companies.

From 2002 through 2003, the two companies allegedly billed Medicare for DME, primarily for motorized wheelchairs and related accessories, but delivered less expensive scooters. In all, the two companies were paid approximately $2.6 million. More than 99% of the two companies' claims involved motorized wheelchairs and related accessories.

Most of the claims billed by the two companies prescriptions and certificates of medical necessity signed by and sold to Sandra Thurman by Lewis Gottlieb, MD, according to the DOJ. Gottlieb pleaded guilty to receiving kickbacks for signing prescriptions for patients who did not meet the medical necessity requirements to receive a motorized wheelchair and is currently serving his 6 1/2 years in federal prison.

Thurman is scheduled to be sentenced in June. Patino and Oliver will be sentenced in August.

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