HURRICANE DAMAGE TO WHEELCHAIRS CLAIMS EXPOSES FRAUD

Photobucket HOUSTON, TX – Taking advantage of a tragic situation, a Houston federal jury returned a verdict finding a patient recruiter guilty of health care fraud. Marion Beverly Metoyer was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiring to receive illegal kickbacks for referring Medicare beneficiaries and two counts of receiving illegal kickbacks for those referrals.
According to the Indictment, Helen Etinfoh owned and operated Luant & Odera, Inc., a supplier of durable medical equipment, doing business as Tonni Medical Equipment & Supplies. Metoyer recruited patients for Luant and received kickbacks when she provided the company with Medicare beneficiaries who could be billed for services rendered.
Etinfoh, along with other co-conspirators, falsely billed Medicare for wheelchairs, wheelchair accessories and power scooters. Based on Metoyer’s and other’s representations to the company, Luant falsely billed Medicare using a special code designating that the power wheelchairs were replacements for wheelchairs lost during the 2008 hurricanes that Houston suffered.
Some Medicare beneficiaries testified that they had never even had a power wheelchair before Luant provided them with one. Hurricane damage claims for durable medical equipment can be made to Medicare without a doctor’s order. Beneficiaries further testified that Metoyer and others offered them free power wheelchairs in exchange for their Medicare information.
This is not Etinfoh’s first brush with health care fraud. In April 2010, she was convicted by a federal jury and sentenced to 41 months in prison. Other patient recruiters of Luant, including Paula Whitfield, Melvin Barnes, Johnnie Lee Andrews and Monica Rene Perry, also have several convictions of health care fraud.
Metoyer’s convictions could result in a total of 30 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
Federal Healthcare Fraud Strike Force teams are currently operating in 9 locations: Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, Brooklyn, Tampa, Baton Rouge, Dallas and Chicago.
Healthcare Fraud Blog Publisher, Attorney Robert Malove, is an expert criminal trial lawyer as recognized by The Florida Bar. Mr. Malove has extensive experience in the area of durable medical equipment fraud and health care fraud defense. Mr. Malove is available to provide legal representation throughout the United States to individuals charged with committing health care fraud.
If you, or someone you know is facing prosecution as a result of aggressive law enforcement in the area of health care fraud, make sure you contact attorney Robert Malove, co-author of the noted treatise,
WHITE COLLAR CRIME: HEALTH CARE FRAUD (West)(2010-2011 ed.) to arrange an immediate consultation.