Speech Therapist and Clinic Owner Found Guilty in Health Care Fraud Scheme
BROWNSVILLE, Texas ‐ A federal judge has imposed a guilty verdict against a speech therapist and part-owner of a pediatric speech therapy for conspiring to defraud Texas Medicaid through fraudulent billings, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen presided over the seven-day trial that occurred in September 2017. Today, the court found Georgia Phillips, 67, of Olmito, guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Judge Hanen found that she conspired with the clinic’s biller to submit false and fraudulent claims to Texas Medicaid on behalf of Children’s First Pediatric Rehabilitation (CFPR) in Harlingen and Georgia M. Phillips LLC in Brownsville.
The evidence presented during the bench trial showed that the biller for CFPR and Georgia M. Phillips LLC submitted thousands of false and fraudulent claims to Texas Medicaid for children’s therapy services that were not provided, submitted duplicate bills for therapy services that had already been paid by Medicaid and overbilled therapy services that were provided.
The court heard evidence that from May 1, 2009, to May 31, 2012, CFPR and Georgia M. Phillips LLC submitted false and fraudulent claims totaling $821,145 to Texas Medicaid for children’s therapy services allegedly provided to Texas Medicaid recipients on behalf of the two companies.
The defense attempted to convince the judge that the fraudulent claims were the result of sloppy billing on the part of the biller. Judge Hanen did not believe defense’s argument and found Georgia Phillips guilty of conspiring to defraud Texas Medicaid.
Conspiracy to commit health care fraud carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in federal prison and a potential $250,000 maximum fine.
Sentencing has been set for June 5, 2018. Phillips was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Department of Health and Human Services‐Office of Inspector General, FBI and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Day and Andrew Swartz are prosecuting the case.