News and Press Releases

Leader Of Medicare Fraud Scheme Sentenced To 3 ½ Years In Prison

January 9, 2012

Defendant submitted phony claims for back braces and other medical devices through medical supply companies located in Houston and Brunswick

BRUNSWICK, GA: SAMUEL CURTIS, III, 38, who formerly resided in Brunswick, Georgia, but who now resides in Houston, Texas, was sentenced by Chief United States Judge Lisa Godbey Wood on Friday, January 6, to 42 months in prison for attempting to steal more than five hundred thousand dollars from Medicare through two medical equipment suppliers located in Brunswick, Georgia, and Houston, Texas.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “This prosecution is another illustration of how health care fraud has become a national problem and that a national response from law enforcement is necessary. The United States Attorney’s Office will work aggressively and collaboratively with our partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services to pursue health care fraudsters. Severe sentences like that given to this defendant are necessary in order to protect Medicare beneficiaries and the American taxpayer.”

Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “This Defendant, in working with others over an extended period, profited from his organized fraudulent scheme while depriving those truly in need and will now answer for those actions. The FBI urges anyone with information regarding fraud involving either privately or publicly funded healthcare provider programs to contact its nearest FBI field office.”

Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Region for the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, said, “Curtis’ sentence sends a loud and clear message that billing Medicare for products and services that are never provided will not be tolerated. Medicare frausters need to know that if they choose to indulge in such behavior, they will go to prison.”

At the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, the evidence showed that CURTIS owned Preferred Prosthetics and Orthotics (“Preferred”), in Brunswick, Georgia, and Team Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc. (“Team”), in Houston, Texas. Both Preferred and Team purported to be suppliers of ankle braces, knee braces, back braces and other medical devices. CURTIS and others routinely billed Medicare for medical devices that were never provided to patients, not medically necessary, or not prescribed by a physician. CURTIS and others committed the scheme by stealing the identities of both Medicare patients and doctors, and those stolen identities to submit more than $500,000 worth of phony claims to Medicare.
In addition to 42 months in prison, Chief Judge Wood also sentenced CURTIS to 3 years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $254,750.94.

Tarver praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health Human Services, Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Brian T. Rafferty prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.






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