Woman Ordered To Pay $86,000 Restitution For Defrauding The Government
Charles E. Peeler, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that Christie Morgan a/k/a Christie Hutto, age 41, of Columbus, Georgia, was sentenced on February 14, 2018, by the Honorable Clay D. Land, Chief United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia, to pay restitution of $86,000 and to serve three years on probation for defrauding the United States government in a medical equipment billing scheme.
Ms. Morgan and her former husband operated a durable medical equipment company for several years in LaGrange, Georgia, known as Hutto Limb and Brace, LLC (“HLB”). HLB specialized in fabricating custom orthotic and prosthetic limbs and joints, as well as custom fitted shoes and inserts. Many of the patients of HLB were recipients of Medicare and Georgia Medicaid and the services of HLB were billed to those entities. In order to qualify for Medicare and Georgia Medicaid payments, the services must have been performed by or under the direct supervision of a licensed orthotist/prosthetist. Ms. Morgan’s husband was the only licensed orthotist/prosthetist at HLB.
On April 6, 2012, Ms. Morgan’s husband left the business, however, Ms. Morgan continued operating HLB into November, 2012, without a licensed orthotist/prosthetist on board, all the while submitting bills from her home in Columbus, Georgia, to Medicare and Georgia Medicaid claiming otherwise. Through this scheme she wrongfully claimed approximately $172,000 from these benefit programs, but only actually received half that amount.
“One of the two top priorities of this United States Attorney’s Office is the reduction of waste and fraud against the government. It doesn’t matter whether the defendant is a multi-national corporation embezzling millions or a one person shop falsely billing for much smaller sums, such as in this case, all will be prosecuted fully in the Middle District of Georgia,” said United States Attorney Peeler.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr stated that “Our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is committed to protecting the integrity of the Georgia Medicaid program, its members and the taxpayer dollars used to provide this service. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to identify and detect fraud, abuse or waste and aggressively recover all funds spent inappropriately, and we are grateful to work with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia and law enforcement to protect Georgians.”
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources/Office of Inspector General and the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia/Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Melvin E. Hyde handled the prosecution for the Government.
Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.