April 7, 2009
SISTERS WHO OPERATED FRAUDULENT MEDICARE AND MEDICAID COMPANIES SENTENCED TO PRISON
(VICTORIA, Texas) - Two sisters convicted of conspiring to defraud Medicare and Medicaid have been sentenced to prison by U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today.
Brenda Davis Miller, also known as Brenda Graham Davis, 37, of Kingwood, Texas, and her sister Dorothy Ann Hawkins, 46, of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty in September 2008 to conspiring to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. Miller also pleaded guilty to conducting financial transactions with criminally derived property, commonly referred to a money laundering.
At a hearing this afternoon, Judge Rainey found that Miller and Hawkins were both organizers and leaders of the scheme had abused their positions of trust as Medicare and Medicaid approved providers. Brenda Davis Miller, whose sentence includes an upward adjustment for obstruction of justice for failing to disclose certain financial information to the U.S. Probation Department during the presentence investigation, was sentenced to a 97-month prison term each of her two counts of conviction. The sentences are to be served concurrently. Dorothy Hawkins was sentenced to a 46-month prison term for the conspiracy to defraud Medicare and Medicaid conviction. All federal prison terms are served without the benefit of parole. Upon completion of their prison terms, each sister must also serve a three-year term of post-release supervision by the U.S. Probation Office during which each is strictly prohibited from participation as a provider in a federal health care program.
The sisters, who owned and operated AA Better Medical Supply (Miller) and Genesis Medical Supply (Hawkins), two durable medical supply companies in the Houston area, were convicted after admitting that between 2002 and 2004, they conspired to and executed a scheme to submit false and fraudulent bills to Medicare and Medicaid for motorized wheelchairs and related accessories and for individual psychotherapy. To execute their scheme, Miller and Hawkins solicited/recruited Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to receive durable medical equipment -- many of whom were not evaluated by a doctor, nor met the medical qualifications to receive the equipment – then billed Medicare and Medicaid programs for motorized wheelchairs and related accessories. However, the patients received nothing at all or a less expensive scooter costing thousands of dollars less. Additionally, Miller and Graham obtained the Medicaid numbers of children who were Medicaid beneficiaries, sometimes through offers of gifts to their parents, and then billed the Medicaid program for psychotherapy that was never provided.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Rainey ordered Miller to pay restitution to Medicare and Medicaid in the sum of $1,180,936.15. Hawkins was ordered to pay $1,144,325.72 in restitution to Medicare and Medicaid. The amount of restitution equals the amounts paid by the federal health care programs to Miller and Davis as a result of fraudulently filed claims.
Miller and Hawkins have been permitted to remain on bond pending the issuance of an order to surrender to a prison facility to be designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in the near future.
The investigation leading to the criminal charges and the convictions was conducted by agents of the Texas Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in Houston; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Inspector General; the Internal Revenue Service; and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Carol Wheeler and Special Assistant United States Attorney Rex G. Beasley prosecuted the case.
# # #