News and Press Releases

Major Principals Of D.M.E. Company Sentenced For Medicare And Medicaid Fraud

October 24 , 2011

Tampa, FL - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington sentenced Gregory Bane (41, Valrico), the Vice President for Operations and I.T. manager of Bane Medical Services and Oxygen and Respiratory Therapy to three years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and submitting false claims.  Tracy Bane (41, Valrico), the billing supervisor, was sentenced to six months in federal prison, and 18 months of house arrest for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud and submitting false claims.

Previously, on September 12, 2011, Judge Covington sentenced Ben Bane (65, Plant City) President of Bane Medical Services and Oxygen and Respiratory Therapy, Inc. to twelve years and six months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and submitting false claims.

They were each also ordered to pay $7 million in restitution, a $3 million fine, a $1,000 special assessment, and the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $5,800,000, representing the proceeds of the health care fraud.

In order to satisfy the $5.8 million money judgment, the Court also ordered Ben Bane to forfeit a number of assets, including $1.425 million in cash, 2 mortgages, 17 real properties (homes and buildings) and 4 vehicles and vessels.  In addition, the Court has entered three writs of execution to enforce the restitution order against properties owned by Bane, or which were held for his benefit. The total money received by the Financial Litigation Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office from those writs of execution is approximately $1,868,000.00. Those funds will be disbursed as restitution to the victims.

Each of the Banes were found guilty by a federal jury on December 15, 2010. According to the testimony and evidence presented over the course of the six week trial, the Banes knowingly broke a core rule of Medicare prohibiting DME companies from performing the qualification testing for oxygen, that is, the company that sells the product cannot be the one that also determines whether or not a patient needs it.  In violation of this rule and over the course of four years, Bane Medical Services and Oxygen and Respiratory Therapy, Inc., performed the wrong tests and lied to doctors about it, falsified test results to make it appear that the patients qualified for Medicare-reimbursed oxygen when they did not, and forged doctors signatures on Certificates of Medical Necessity.

Later, Ben Bane sold Bane Medical Services to another DME company.  Shortly before the sale, and to cover up the crime, hundreds of test results were fabricated in order to make it appear that an independent lab had done the necessary tests.  At Ben Bane's house, bags full of records were burned. In total, Bane Medical fraudulently obtained more than $6.8 million from Medicare. Ben Bane then sold the company for $21 million.

This case was investigated by the HHS-OIG and the FBI.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas N. Palermo, Christopher P. Tuite, Robert A. Mosakowski, and Josie Thomas.



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