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July 28, 2009

HOUSTON WOMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR WHEELCHAIR FRAUD

To forfeit $2.3 million in ill-gotten gains to the U.S.

(HOUSTON) – The owner of Odyssey Medical and Counseling Center has been sentenced to prison for her role in a $2.3 million wheelchair fraud, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Katherine West, 52, of Houston, was sentenced today to 37 months by United States District Judge Nancy F. Atlas. In addition to the prison term, West will forfeit $2.3 million which represents the amount she was paid for false claims she submitted to Medicare and Medicaid. The court further ordered West to serve a three-year-term of supervised release. Indicted in April 2008, West pleaded guilty in August 2008 to health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

At the time of her guilty plea, West admitted she purchased wheelchair prescriptions from doctors and from patient recruiters. The recruiters brought patients to see doctors to get approval for a motorized wheelchair. Through Odyssey Medical and Counseling Center, her company, West delivered a less expensive scooter or nothing at all to the beneficiaries. A scooter wholesale cost about $800, while the motorized wheelchair and related accessories was billed at approximately $5,000. The doctors from whom West purchased prescriptions -- Dr. Anant Mauskar, Dr. Lewis Gottlieb and Dr. Callie Herpin -- have been convicted in other cases.

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Bradley and is the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in Houston.

 

 

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