News and Press Releases

MSBR Sentencing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2011

BATON ROUGE MAN SENTENCED TO LENGTHY PRISON TERM FOR HEALTH CARE FRAUD

BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced that SAMUEL B. JOHNSON, age 48, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Court Judge James J. Brady to serve sixty (60) months in federal prison for his role in a multi-year health care fraud scheme that he perpetrated in the Baton Rouge area.

JOHNSON was charged, along with three others, in a superseding indictment that was filed on December 8, 2010. The indictment alleged that JOHNSON was one of the owners of a company known as Medical Supplies of Baton Rouge, Inc. (“MSBR”), which was engaged in the business of providing power wheelchairs, orthotics and other durable medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries. In connection with his guilty plea, JOHNSON admitted that from in or about November of 2005 through at least in or about June of 2009, he conspired to use MSBR to defraud the Medicare Program and commit health care fraud. Specifically, JOHNSON and his co-conspirators routinely submitted claims to Medicare seeking reimbursement for a set of expensive braces (including a back brace, knee braces, and other items), knowing that the braces were not medically necessary and had not been prescribed for the beneficiaries by their physicians.

Through the submission of such false claims, JOHNSON and his co-conspirators attempted to obtain more than $5.4 million in Medicare funds. On January 24, 2011, JOHNSON pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of money laundering.

This morning, Judge Brady sentenced JOHNSON to serve a term of imprisonment of 60 months. JOHNSON was also ordered to pay $878,280 in restitution, and ordered to forfeit an additional $928,280 in proceeds from his crimes. Following his release from imprisonment, JOHNSON will be required to serve a 2-year term of supervised release.

“The sentence pronounced today by the Court sends a clear message to health care providers that trying to make easy money by cheating Medicare isn’t worth it. There’s nothing easy about serving five years in a federal penitentiary, as I’m sure this defendant will soon find out,” said Mike Fields, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Regional Office for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. remarked, “The lengthy prison sentence handed out this morning is the latest example of our aggressive and effective efforts to combat Medicare fraud. We cannot tolerate criminals who attempt to bilk the Medicare program and undermine its solvency, particularly in today’s economic climate. Hopefully this morning’s sentence will discourage those who would seek to defraud Medicare.”

The investigation of this matter was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alan Stevens, Helina Dayries and Chris Dippel. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 1,000 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion. In addition, HHS’s 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.

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If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721 or e-mail at: disaster@leo.gov


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