New Orleans Business Owner Sentenced to 80 Months in Prison for Role in $3.3 Million Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON – The owner of a New Orleans company that defrauded Medicare of more than $3.3 million was sentenced today to 80 months in prison for directing the scheme.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey S. Sallet of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Regional Office made the announcement.
Tracy Richardson Brown, 46, of New Orleans, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. of the Eastern District of Louisiana, who also ordered Brown to pay $2,004,391.63 in restitution.
On April 30, 2016, Brown, who owned and operated medical equipment supply company Psalms 23 DME LLC (Psalms), was convicted on 18 counts of health care fraud, conspiracy and related charges. Evidence introduced at the five-day trial showed that Brown paid patient recruiters for the names and billing information of Medicare beneficiaries in and around New Orleans. The evidence that was presented also showed that Brown used this information to cause Psalms to bill Medicare for power wheelchairs, accessories and various knee, elbow and back braces supposedly provided to these beneficiaries. However, according to the evidence presented at trial, the vast majority of these patients did not need, and often did not receive or even want, this equipment. The evidence at trial demonstrated that Brown caused Psalms to bill Medicare for more than $3.3 million in claims, a vast percentage of which were fraudulent, and Medicare paid Psalms approximately $2 million on these claims. At her sentencing, Judge Duval stated that the sentence was based, in part, upon Brown’s use of elderly people to commit a “reprehensible crime.”
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case. Fraud Section Trial Attorney William Kanellis and Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrice Sullivan of the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans prosecuted the case.