February 25, 2013 — Medicare fraud schemes by durable medical equipment suppliers are frequently exposed by employees with the courage to file suit under the qui tam provisions of the federal or state False Claims Acts. Individuals who uncover Medicare fraud are authorized under the federal statute to file a lawsuit on the government’s behalf and retain a portion of any monies recovered.
Federal Judge Convicts Owner of Fort Worth Medical Equipment Companies
After a five-day trial, the Justice Department has announced, a Texas federal judge has convicted the Fort Worth, Texas owner of two durable medical equipment companies of several health care fraud charges. Hugh Marion Willet, 69, has been found guilty of six counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Jean Willett, Hugh Willett’s wife, already pleaded guilty to identical charges and received a 50 month prison sentence. When he is sentenced in April, Hugh Willett could receive as much as ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count.
Mr. and Mrs. Willet co-owned and operated Texas Orthotic and Prosthetic Systems Inc. and JS&H Orthopedic Supply LLC, companies that provided orthotics and other durable medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries, as well as people covered by private insurance carriers. From 2006 and 2010, the Willets’ companies intentionally submitted false claims to Medicare and the private insurers for equipment that was more expensive and different from the equipment that the providers actually sold to the Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare False Claims Act Violations Often Reported by Employees
Medical equipment providers that overbill Medicare, Medicaid or other government healthcare programs for orthotics, wheelchairs or other medical equipment drive up America’s health care costs. Employees are often in the best position to blow the whistle on Medicare fraud. Billing and accounting personnel, in particular, may be the most likely to recognize fraudulent billing scams.
Before coming forward, tipsters need to be informed of their legal rights. The lawyers at Waters & Kraus provide whistleblowers with the assurance they need to call a halt to health care fraud. Contact us or call our whistleblower lawyers at 800.226.9880 to find out more about our Medicare fraud practice and how we can assist.