News and Press Releases

Houston Medical Equipment Company Owner Lands in Federal Prison for Medicare Fraud

Aug, 31, 2011

HOUSTON - Sunny Robinson, the owner of Memorial Medical Supply - a Houston durable medical equipment business, has been sentenced to 97 months in prison for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. sentenced Robinson 42, of Houston, and three others convicted for their roles in Robinson’s fraud scheme yesterday, Aug. 30, 2011.

Robinson’s co-defendants - Manuel DeLuna, 50, Lisa Jones, 48, and Shirley Chavis, 44, all of Houston - pleaded guilty in advance of Robinson’s trial, to federal fraud charges. DeLuna, the general manager of Memorial Medical Supply convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, was sentenced to 42 months. Jones and Chavis, both convicted of conspiring to receive kickbacks in exchange for patient information, were sentenced to 22 months in prison and five years probation, respectively. 

On March 7, 2011, Robinson was convicted at trial of all 19 counts of health care fraud and anti-kickback violations alleged against him for causing the submission of fraudulent medical claims to the Medicare Program in excess of $4.3 million from March 2005 through June 2009. During the five-day trial, the jury heard testimony and received evidence proving Robinson’s health care fraud scheme encompassed buying Medicare referrals, billing Medicare for durable medical equipment and getting paid. The names and Medicare numbers of doctors and Medicare beneficiaries were used to falsify medical records and on false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs for reimbursement.

Robinson illegally obtained protected Medicare beneficiary health information including names, dates, of birth, medical histories, Medicare and Social Security numbers from individuals and home health agencies. This health information was then used to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for reimbursement for “Arthritis Kits,” power wheelchairs, diabetic supplies and incontinence supplies. The Medicare beneficiaries in many instances did not need or order the durable medical equipment nor did a physician prescribe the items. Many of the medical claims submitted were for durable medical equipment that wasn’t even provided. Memorial Medical Supply also falsely submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare for equipment supposedly delivered to 34 deceased Medicare beneficiaries.

In connection with his guilty plea, DeLuna admitted that he and others illegally obtained protected Medicare beneficiary health information from individuals and home health agencies which was then used to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for reimbursement for durable medical equipment. In connection with their guilty pleas, Jones and Chavis both admitted to receiving money in exchange for supplying patient information and billing numbers.

This case was investigated by agents of the Office of Inspector General – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Officer of Personnel Management, the FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Office – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. These agencies are part of the Houston Medicare Strike Force which is a joint effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Southern District of Texas and the Department of Justice – Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Leuchtmann and Special Assistant United States Attorney Justin Blan prosecuted this case.

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