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April 24, 2009

HOUSTON WOMAN SENTENCED IN WHEELCHAIR FRAUD CASE

(HOUSTON) – The owner and operator of three durable medical equipment companies (DME) has been sentenced to prison for orchestrating a $2.3 million wheelchair fraud scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid, acting U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Sanders, also known as Sharon Sanders Pickrom, 49, owned and operated three durable medical equipment companies: Macedonia Medical Supply; Kingwood Medical Supply and Kingwood Medical Supply Unlimited. Through her three DME companies, Sanders purchased motorized wheelchair prescriptions either from marketers of prescriptions or from physicians and then billed upon the prescriptions for motorized wheelchairs and related accessories, but delivered a less expensive scooter to beneficiaries. In Houston, during the timeframe of this Indictment, the Medicare reimbursement rate, with a 20 percent copay, for a K0011 motorized wheelchair and related accessories was approximately $4,700. Both a motorized wheelchair and a scooter cost approximately $800 to $1,000 wholesale. Sanders was paid approximately $2.3 million as a result of the fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims.

This afternoon, United States District Judge Sim Lake sentenced Sanders to 46 months imprisonment for the health care fraud conviction and for the conspiracy conviction, to be served concurrently. In addition, the court has ordered Sanders to pay $2.3 million in restitution and imposed a three-year-term of supervised release.

The court has permitted Sanders to remain on bond pending the issuance of an order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

The three DME companies owned and operated by Sanders are no longer in operation.

This case was the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit in Houston, U.S. Health & Human Services-Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Bradley prosecuted the case.

 

 

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