Woman Accused of Medicare Fraud Reportedly Bought 20 Cars with Fraud Money
A woman who ran a Mississippi hospice service and committed Medicare fraud reportedly used some of the fraudulent money to purchase 20 cars since December 2009. A 27-page document, dated February 29th and made public October 3rd in the US District Court of Oxford, detailed how the owner of the Angelic Hospice in Greenwood purchased the vehicles. The document was an affidavit that supported prosecutors’ efforts to seize the cars, as well as cash, related to the case. The document also detailed how the hospice billed Medicare for millions of dollars’ in services that were never rendered. Sometimes, the hospice used forged documents, according to the affidavit. Regina Swims-King was originally charged in June for 37 counts of Medicare fraud and pleaded not guilty. Her trial is scheduled for December 2nd. Reportedly, the hospice served numerous counties throughout the Mississippi Delta, and billed fraudulently billed Medicare for $11 million between 2007 and 2012. Swims-King is listed in the court documents as the person who wrote the checks for the cars, although the vehicles were registered under various names. Cars listed in the indictment include a $92,000 Jaguar, a Lexus, and a BMW. The newly released documents also include allegations that a hospice recruiter went door-to-door asking whether residents needed their blood pressure checked, then used the new patient information to commit Medicare fraud. In one case, according to authorities the hospice billed thousands of dollars to Medicare on behalf of someone who did not need hospice services, and was in fact healthy enough to walk several miles a day. The document also alleges that several of the fraudulent Medicare claims had forged signatures.
False Claims Act Protects Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuits
Medicare and Medicaid are government-sponsored health care programs that help the needy and the elderly cover health care costs associated with aging and disability. These programs are hugely important for people living on a fixed income, so it is incumbent upon doctors to honestly report costs both to patients and to the government. Unfortunately, not all health care providers are honest in their assessments. Some health care providers defraud the government, in violation of the False Claims Act, by overbilling for services, double billing, or billing for services not provided. The False Claims Act imposes liability on persons or corporations that defraud the government – and this includes doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes. The False Claims Act provides protection for those who report agencies or individuals who are defrauding the government. These lawsuits are called whistleblower, or qui tam, lawsuits. Under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, the relator (plaintiff) files an action on behalf of the U.S. Government. The Act allows a wide variety of people and entities to file a qui tam action. The whistleblower must have first-hand knowledge of the fraud. However, as an incentive for reporting the fraud, whistleblowers are eligible for 15-25% of any recovered damages.
The Strom Law Firm Protects Medicare Fraud Whistleblowers in South Carolina
Common whistleblower actions include:
- Medicare fraud,
- defense contractor fraud, and
- other kinds of fraud against state or federal government
Qui tam lawsuits have been, and continue to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud. If you have first-hand knowledge of government fraud occurring at your place of employment or your doctor’s office, including Medicare fraud, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help protect your rights. In order to help the government provide the best possible services, Medicaid and Medicare fraud must be reported as soon as possible. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexity of qui tam and whistleblower suits, and we offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today. 803.252.4800