August 30, 2013 — Medicare fraud costs U.S. taxpayers massive amounts of money every year. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) depends on health care whistleblowers to help stop Medicare fraud. Qui tam language in the False Claims Act enables health care insiders who discover phony claims and illegal kickbacks to bring a lawsuit for the government’s benefit. Tipsters may be eligible to keep a portion of the government’s recovery as a reward for their courage in collaborating with the DOJ.
Sentencing in $17 Million Louisiana Home Health Care Fraud Scheme
The owner and a director of South Louisiana Home Health Care Inc. (SLHHC) have been sentenced in a Medicare fraud scheme involving fraudulent documents and illegal kickbacks. Louis Age has been sentenced to 15 years in prison and Verna Age has been sentenced to 5 years. Both must forfeit $9.2 million and pay restitution of $17.1 million.
Louis T. Age Jr. was the owner of SLHHC and Verna Age was the nursing director. According to the DOJ, recruiters were paid kickbacks to find Medicare beneficiaries who purportedly would use SLHHC home health care services. Verna Age and nurses on her staff allegedly used the Medicare beneficiaries’ information to prepare fraudulent home health care qualification documents. In addition, Louis Age paid kickbacks to medical doctors to provide SLHHC with referrals for home health care services and to prescribe and administer medically unnecessary services. Between 2005 and 2011, the DOJ charged, Louis Age, Verna Age and LSHCC billed, and collected $17.1 million from Medicare for phony services.
Louis and Verna Age contested the DOJ’s charges and in March 2013, were convicted by a jury on Medicare fraud charges. In October 2012, Verna Age had been previously convicted of receiving or paying kickbacks and conspiring to defraud Medicare.
Whistleblower Suits Target Medicare Fraud
Conscientious informants are critical allies in the Justice Department’s fight against Medicare fraud. Tipsters deserve to know that they have substantial rights under the False Claims Act. The experienced whistleblower lawyers at Waters & Kraus provide skilled representation for insiders ready to do the right thing. Contact us by email or phone our qui tam attorneys at 855.784.0268 to learn how we can protect and advance your interests.