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Press Release

West Monroe Man Charged in Federal Court in Connection with the Department of Justice’s 2024 National Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana

MONROE, La. – United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced that criminal charges have been filed against a West Monroe man in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud Medicare. The charges filed in federal court are part of the Department of Justice’s 2024 National Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action.

Michael L. Riggins, 61, of West Monroe, Louisiana, was charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud for his role in a durable medical equipment (“DME”) scheme. As alleged in the indictment, Riggins was the owner of Bluewater Healthcare (“Bluewater”), a DME supply company in West Monroe, Louisiana. It is alleged that from 2018 to 2023, Riggins paid for doctors’ orders for pneumatic compression devices (“PCDs”), a type of DME, and tricked doctors into signing DME orders and certificates of medical necessity in order to bill for the expensive and medically unnecessary DME. In total, Riggins submitted over $3.8 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for supplying PCDs and was reimbursed over $1.8 million.

These charges are part of a strategically coordinated, two-week nationwide law enforcement action that resulted in criminal charges against 147 defendants for their alleged participation in health care fraud and opioid abuse schemes that resulted in the submission of over $2.5 billion in alleged false billings. The defendants allegedly defrauded programs entrusted for the care of the elderly and disabled to line their own pockets, and the Government, in connection with the enforcement action, seized over $150 million in cash, luxury vehicles, gold, and other assets.

The Health Care Fraud Unit’s National Rapid Response, Florida, Gulf Coast, Los Angeles, Midwest, Northeast, and Texas Strike Forces; U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Southern District of Alabama, District of Arizona, Central District of California, Northern District of California, Southern District of California, District of Connecticut, Middle District of Florida, Southern District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District of Kentucky, Western District of Kentucky, Eastern District of Louisiana, Middle District of Louisiana, Western District of Louisiana, Eastern District of Michigan, Western District of Michigan, Southern District of Mississippi, District of Montana, District of New Jersey, Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of North Carolina, Western District of Oklahoma, District of Rhode Island, Middle District of Tennessee, Northern District of Texas, Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of Tennessee, Eastern District of Virginia, and Southern District of West Virginia; and the State Attorney Generals’ Offices for California, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and South Dakota are prosecuting the cases in the National Enforcement Action, with assistance from the Health Care Fraud Unit’s Data Analytics Team.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Western District of Louisiana in particular, worked with the Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) to investigate and prosecute the cases filed during the enforcement period.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Flanagan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorneys Samantha Usher and Kelly Z. Walters of the Gulf Coast Strike Force.

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Updated June 28, 2024

Health Care Fraud