SIXTH SENTENCED FOR SCHEME TO DEFRAUD MEDICARE
BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced today that Chief United States District Judge Brian Jackson sentenced Ray Kirt, 45, a resident of New Iberia, Louisiana. Kirt was sentenced to serve forty-two months in prison, to pay restitution of $1,063,873 to Medicare, to forfeit the gross proceeds of his scheme to defraud Medicare, and to three years supervised release after imprisonment. Kirt had previously pled guilty to two counts of health care fraud.
Kirt is the sixth defendant convicted and sentenced in the scheme to defraud the Medicare program by submitting false and fraudulent claims for psychotherapy services that were not provided.
Previously, Judge Jackson sentenced Kirt’s co-defendant Peggy Mingo to serve 8 months in a halfway house and 3 years on probation for her part in aiding the scheme to defraud Medicare.
Earlier in March 2011, other participants in the scheme to defraud Medicare were sentenced. Judge Jackson sentenced co-defendant Alton Bates, an attorney in Baton Rouge, to thirty-four months in prison; Robert Ivory Levy, 59, to fifteen months imprisonment; and Juanita Anderson Hilton, age 42, to three years probation with a condition that she serve six months in a local halfway house. Both Levy and Anderson Hilton were licensed clinical social workers who used their professional status to assist the scheme to defraud. Levy was ordered to pay restitution of $120,946.89 to Medicare, and to three years supervised release after imprisonment. Anderson Hilton was ordered to repay $89,450 to Medicare.
Alton Bates pled guilty on July 21, 2009 to two counts of health care fraud and two counts of paying illegal kickbacks. Levy and Anderson Hilton both pled guilty to one count of health care fraud. Anderson Hilton pled guilty on July 21, 2009 and Levy pled guilty on September 21, 2009.
In total, the defendants’ participation in this scheme involved more than 7,700 false claims seeking Medicare payments totaling $3,052,838. Due to the scheme, the Medicare program paid $1,063,873 to Above and Beyond, LLC, the Baton Rouge company which the defendants operated between 2003 and 2005.
In July 2008, Judge Frank Polozola sentenced Arnita Horne, a social worker, to serve twenty months in prison for her participation in the same scheme to defraud Medicare. Horne was ordered to repay Medicare $345,804. Horne was also convicted of health care fraud.
The investigation of Above and Beyond, Bates, Levy, and Anderson Hilton was conducted by the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, AdvanceMed, the Zone Program Integrity Contractor for Medicare, and the United States Attorney’s Office. The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rene Salomon.
United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., stated, “The Department of Justice will continue to aggressively prosecute criminals who enrich themselves at the expense of the Medicare program and the citizens who are in need of this vital health care assistance. This sentencing sends a clear message to Kirt and others like him, that these types of crimes will not go unpunished in this district.”
“I believe we have served notice that health care fraud will not be tolerated,” said William W. Root, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge, Health and Human Services.
According to FBI Special Agent-In-Charge David Welker: “This case demonstrates the FBI and our law enforcement partners’ continuing commitment to fight health care fraud, especially when it drives the cost of health care up which affects our most vulnerable citizens!”
The investigation of similar schemes to defraud the Medicare program is ongoing.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org