News and Press Releases

MSBR Dangerfield Sentencing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2011

BATON ROUGE WOMAN SENTENCED TO 30-MONTH PRISON TERM FOR HEALTH CARE FRAUD

BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced that STEPHANIE DANGERFIELD, age 50, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Court Judge James J. Brady to serve thirty (30) months in federal prison for her role in a multi-year health care fraud scheme that she perpetrated in the Baton Rouge area.

DANGERFIELD was charged, along with three others, in a superseding indictment that was filed on December 8, 2010. The indictment alleged that DANGERFIELD was a manager 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 her guilty plea, DANGERFIELD admitted that from on or about November 2005, through at least on or about early 2008, she conspired with her co-defendants to use MSBR to defraud the Medicare Program and commit health care fraud. Specifically, DANGERFIELD and her 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, DANGERFIELD and her co-conspirators attempted to obtain more than $5.4 million in Medicare funds. On January 24, 2011, DANGERFIELD pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

This morning, Judge Brady sentenced DANGERFIELD to serve a term of imprisonment of 30 months. DANGERFIELD was also ordered to pay $688,178 in restitution, and ordered to forfeit an additional $688,178 in proceeds from her health care fraud scheme. Following her release from imprisonment, DANGERFIELD will be required to serve a 2-year term of supervised release.

DANGERFIELD was the last of the MSBR defendants to be sentenced. Her co-defendants were previously sentenced as follows:

• Samuel B. Johnson: On June 30, 2011, Judge James J. Brady sentenced Johnson, MSBR’s co-owner, 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.

• Thompson W. Chinwoh. On July 18, 2011, Judge Brady sentenced Thompson Chinwoh, MSBR’s co-owner, to serve a term of imprisonment of 48 months. Chinwoh was ordered to pay $878,280 in restitution, and ordered to forfeit an additional $878,280 in proceeds from his crimes.

• Bradis M. Hicks. On April 7, 2011, Judge Brady sentenced Hicks to serve a 2-year term of probation as a result of her role in the defendant’s fraudulent scheme. Hicks had previously pled guilty to the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information.

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.

United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. stated, “It is imperative that we fight to protect our Medicare and Medicaid systems from fraud, especially during this time of financial insecurity. While we are gratified at the successful completion of this case, we must and will continue to work with our federal and state partners to prosecute vigorously those who attempt to undermine our health care system.”

Mike Fields, Special Agent-in-Charge of the HHS-Inspector General’s Office for the Dallas region stated, “The OIG, FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Louisiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit have been and will continue to be relentless in the pursuit of anyone intent on stealing the health care benefits of our nation’s sick, disabled, and elderly. Today’s judgment and sentencing is the latest, but certainly not the last, achieved by the Baton Rouge Medicare Fraud Strike Force.”

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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