Couple sentenced in Medicare fraud case

AP
AP

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A Plaquemine couple is headed to federal prison after admitting that they used their medical equipment company to defraud Medicare of slightly more than $1 million.

The Advocate reports that Henry Ray Stewart, 47, was sentenced Thursday in Baton Rouge by U.S. District Judge James J. Brady to a prison term of 46 months. Helen Faye Stewart received a three-year prison term. The Stewarts operated Carefree Medical Supply.

The husband-and-wife team pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. Brady ruled that the Stewarts must pay restitution of more than $1 million to the nation's insurer for the elderly and disabled.

The Stewarts admitted they billed Medicare for equipment that was either medically unnecessary or never delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. In some cases, Medicare was billed for expensive equipment for which inferior products were substituted.

Between January 2006 and March 2008, according to their charge, the Stewarts and "others known and unknown to the United States attorney" falsely billed Medicare for $1.9 million in power wheelchairs, orthotics and other durable medical equipment.

In a plea agreement, the Stewarts agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and investigators.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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