Wichita Medical Supply Store Owner
Indicted on Health Care Fraud Charges
WICHITA, KAN. – The owner of a Wichita medical supply store and two other people have been indicted on federal charges of scheming to collect reimbursement from Medicare for selling motorized wheelchairs to recipients who didn’t qualify, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Steven J. Palacioz, 59, Wichita, Kan., Veneda Brown, 38, Wichita, and Bonita Regina Carter, 51, Wichita, Kan., were indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud Medicare and one count of health care fraud. In addition, Carter was charged with submitting false information to the Social Security Administration.
Palacioz owned Advanced Medical Concepts, 7718 W. Douglas in Wichita, which was registered with Medicare to sell durable medical equipment including power wheel chairs. The indictment alleges Palacioz unlawfully paid Brown more than $48,000 and Carter more than $46,000 to identify Medicare recipients and refer them to him so he could provide them with power wheel chairs. Palacioz sought reimbursement from Medicare even though he knew the recipients did not meet Medicare’s medical necessity coverage criteria. The indictment alleges that from 2002 through 2006 Medicare paid him more than $2.4 million for motorized wheelchairs.
Under federal law, a patient must have a doctor’s order to qualify for a power wheelchair and must meet the following conditions:
A condition that would otherwise would confine the patient to bed or a chair.
A condition that prevents the patient from operating a wheelchair manually.
The ability to safely operate the controls of a power wheelchair.
Vendors who sell power wheelchairs are responsible for ensuring that claims for reimbursement meet Medicare’s coverage criteria and maintaining documentation supporting the claim.
Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:
Conspiracy: A maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Health care fraud: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Making a false statement to the Social Security Administration: A maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000.
The FBI investigated. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office is prosecuting.
A grand jury meeting in Wichita, Kan., also returned the following indictments:
Robert D. Abner, 42, who is in state custody, is charged with robbing the Garden Plain State Bank, 525 N. Main, Garden Plan, Kan. The robbery occurred June 27, 2008.
Abner previously was convicted in state court of the 2008 kidnapping and rape of a convenience store clerk in Viola, Kan.
If convicted on the bank robbery charge, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.
Christopher F. Bordeaux, 24, Garden City, Kan., is charged with failing to register as a sex offender as required by federal law. The crime is alleged to have occurred from April 2010 to May 16, 2011, in Finney County, Kan.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The U.S. Marshal Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart is prosecuting.
Joseph Dintino, 60, Olathe, Kan., and Lorna Holloway, 70, Claremore, Okla., are charged in a superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy and two counts of bank fraud. In addition, Dintino is charged with one count of money laundering and one count of wire fraud. The crimes are alleged to have occurred from June 5, 2002, to December 2006 in Olathe, Kan.
The indictment alleges Dintino, who owned a business called Climate Masters in Olathe, submitted false information to Bank of the Prairie in Olathe in order to obtain a $465,000 business loan, a $200,000 line of credit and an additional $100,000 line of credit . Holloway, who prepared tax returns and did bookkeeping for the business, is alleged to have prepared tax returns falsely inflating Dintino’s income so he could submit them to the bank as proof of his creditworthiness.
If convicted on the money laundering charge, Dintino faces a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000. Each of the other counts carries a maximum penalty of 30 years and a fine up to $1 million. The Internal Revenue Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley is prosecuting.
Jose Leonardo Mejia-Guzman, 36, a citizen of Guatemala, is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being convicted of an aggravated felony an deported. He was found May 20, 2011, in Reno County, Kan.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Disney is prosecuting.
Patricia Roy, 64, Stockton, Kan., is charged with misappropriating U.S. Postal Service funds while she was an employee of the postal service. The crime is alleged to have occurred from Sept. 2, 2010, to Jan. 4, 2011.
If convicted on the misdemeanor charge, she faces a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a fine up to $1,000. The U.S. Postal Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.
Ray Womack, 28, Wichita, Kan., is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. The crime is alleged to have occurred Feb. 16, 2011, Sedgwick County, Kan.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith is prosecuting.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.