U.S. District Judge David Hitner sentenced six defendants to various terms of imprisonment, for their participation in a large scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.
The government alleged that the defendants billed the programs for devices and equipment that were different than equipment provided to Medicare beneficiaries.
The lead defendant, 56-yr old James Reese, received the largest sentence, 15 years in prison and was ordered to pay $8.6 million in restitution, to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. His daughter, 26 yr old Lia St. Junius, was sentenced to 11 years in the federal penitentiary.
Sam Lewis is Assistant U.S. attorney. He says this prosecution reflects the government's efforts to crack down on this rampant type of fraud.
"Although we're tightening the reins and sentence for Medicare and Medicaid services are doing what what they can to look at the programs, and tighten up the areas in which a fraud occurs, it's such a big program. And so when you investigate one aspect, they move into a different aspect, it's almost like a moving target."
Prosecutors say Reese previously operated a company linked to fraudulent health-care related claims and is barred from being a government health-care provider.
Documents submitted in 2004 by St. Junius, to enroll the Mobility store as a Medicare and Medicaid provider, did not indicate that Reese was involved. Reese pleaded guilty to health care fraud and tax evasion.
St. Junius was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.