A federal jury found a New Orleans woman guilty of cheating Medicare out of millions of dollars through a scheme of paying and receiving illegal kickbacks and billing the health care program for power wheelchairs and other medical equipment.
After a three-day trial, Sandra Parkman, 61, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, two counts of health care fraud, and five counts of accepting kickbacks, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Ms. Parkman and her boss Tracy Richardson Brown, who is also a co-defendant in the case, received kickback payments from Ms. Brown’s medical supplies company for obtaining and providing eligible Medicare beneficiaries’ personal information to the company, as well as to obtaining physician signatures on order forms.
The Justice Department said as a result of the scheme, several Medicare beneficiaries in the New Orleans area received medically unnecessary power wheelchairs and other medical devices that the government paid for.
Evidence presented at court showed the women caused Medicare to pay more than $3.2 million based on those illegally obtained referrals.
Ms. Brown, who is in her 40s, was convicted for her role in the same scheme after a June 2016 trial and received a four-year prison sentence. Ms. Parkman’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17 in federal court in New Orleans.
The Fraud Section of the DOJ’s Criminal Division initiated the case. The Fraud Section leads a Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which combines the resources of the DOJ with the Department of Health and Human Services to detect, prevent, and investigate health care fraud and enforce anti-fraud laws.
According to the DOJ, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged over 3,500 defendants who have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $12.5 billion.