WASHINGTON – The owners and operators of a Brooklyn-area durable medical equipment (DME) company pleaded guilty yesterday to defrauding the Medicare program, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).
Parke Levy, the owner of a DME company called Americare, and his mother Lorraine Levy, the director of customer service for Americare, each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In their plea, Parke Levy, 48, and Lorraine Levy, 79, admitted that they billed Medicare for equipment and supplies that were never actually provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Sentencing is scheduled for May 17, 2011.
According to the indictment, Lorraine Levy solicited Medicare beneficiaries to whom Americare could provide diabetic supplies, including “free” shoes and inserts every year, even if the supplies were not medically necessary. Parke Levy and others met with Medicare beneficiaries to measure their feet using a measuring stick or ruler. Parke Levy and Lorraine Levy then submitted or caused to be submitted false Medicare claims for three pairs of custom molded inserts per patient, when in fact only off-the-shelf inserts were provided to beneficiaries.
The guilty pleas were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York and Thomas ODonnell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) New York office.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Katherine Houston of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI; HHS-OIG; Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General; and the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.
This case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 850 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.1 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov