Las Vegas Couple Indicted for Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering
Las Vegas, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, and Ellen B. Knowlton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for Nevada, announced that DEBORAH RIDGELEY and RICHARD LARRY RIDGELEY were indicted today by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas for Conspiracy To Defraud Medicare, Health Care Theft, Health Care Fraud, Money Laundering, and Health Care Forfeiture. According to the 14-count Indictment, between August 1998 and November 1999, DEBORAH and RICHARD LARRY RIDGELEY fraudulently obtained the names and identification numbers of Medicare beneficiaries in order to steal money from the Medicare "Part B" program, which provides supplementary medical insurance benefits to individuals 65 and older who are entitled to Social Security benefits. Using the fraudulently obtained identification numbers, DEBORAH AND RICHARD LARRY RIDGELEY made false claims for medical equipment products, such as shoes, hospital beds, air mattresses, back braces, and wheel chairs, and executed financial transactions involving the proceeds of their fraud to promote the scheme. The Indictment charges that the defendants visited nursing homes and community centers to find Medicare beneficiaries to whom they could sell the medical equipment products. The defendants sold the products under their company name, "Prescriptives Medical Services, " which had a Las Vegas, Nevada address. The defendants induced the beneficiaries to provide their names and Medicare identification numbers to them by misrepresenting, for example, that Congress had passed the "Fair Foot Bill," which made free shoes available to all Medicare beneficiaries at no charge, when the defendants well knew that Congress never passed such a bill. DEBORAH RIDGELEY and RICHARD LARRY RIDGELEY misrepresented that Prescriptives Medical Services would supply shoes to the Medicare beneficiaries at no cost, when in fact the defendants intended to bill Medicare fraudulently for the shoes and numerous other medical equipment products using the beneficiaries' name and identification numbers even though the products were not medically necessary and no physician had prescribed them. The Indictment also alleges that the RIDGELEY'S forged physicians' signatures and submitted false and fictitious patient files to Medicare. The defendants concealed their identity from Medicare by not billing the program directly, but by associating themselves as commission salespeople with a number of medical equipment providers throughout the United States.
If convicted, the defendants are facing up to ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on the Health Care Theft and Health Care Fraud counts, and 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine on the Money Laundering counts. In addition to any term of imprisonment or fine which could be ordered following a conviction, the court is required to order restitution to the victims. The actual sentence, however, will be dictated by the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and will be imposed at the discretion of the Court.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin J. Roberts.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.