Thursday, March 10, 2011
Houston Man Convicted of Health Care Fraud in State and Federal ProbeThe following news release was issued by the United States Attorney For The Southern District of Texas on March 9, 2011:
(HOUSTON) – A federal jury has convicted the owner of Memorial Medical Supply, a durable medical equipment business, of multiple counts of health care fraud and the payment of kickbacks arising from a multi-million dollar fraud upon Medicare and Medicaid, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
On March 7, 2011, Sunny Robinson, 42, who owned and operated a medical supply company called Memorial Medical Supply in Houston was convicted of all 19 counts of health care fraud and anti-kickback violations alleged against him for causing the submission of fraudulent medical claims to the Medicare Program in excess of $4.3 million between March 2005 through June 2009.
During the five-day trial ending in Robinson’s conviction, the jury heard testimony and received evidence proving Robinson’s health care fraud scheme encompassed buying Medicare referrals, billing Medicare for durable medical equipment and getting paid. The names and Medicare numbers of doctors and Medicare beneficiaries were used to falsify medical records and on false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare and Medicaid Programs for reimbursement.
Sunny Robinson illegally obtained protected Medicare beneficiary health information including names, dates of birth, medical histories, Medicare and Social Security numbers from individuals and home health agencies. This health information was then used to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for reimbursement for “Arthritis Kits,” power wheelchairs, diabetic supplies and incontinence supplies.
The Medicare beneficiaries in many instances did not need or order the durable medical equipment nor did a physician prescribe the items. Many of the medical claims submitted were for durable medical equipment that wasn’t even provided. Memorial Medical Supply also falsely submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare for equipment supposedly delivered to 34 deceased Medicare beneficiaries.
Following the jury’s verdicts, U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr., who presided over the trial, immediately remanded Sunny Robinson into federal custody pending sentencing. Sentencing is set for June 3, 2011. Robinson’s co-defendants - Manuel Deluna, Lisa Jones and Shirley Chavis - pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges arising from their role in Robinson’s scheme in advance of trial and are pending sentencing on May 20, 2011.
This case was investigated by agents of the Office of Inspector General - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General - Office of Personnel Management, the FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Office - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. These agencies are part of the Houston Medicare Strike Force which is a joint effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office - South District of Texas and the Department of Justice - Fraud Section. Special Assistant United States Attorney Justin Blan and Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Leuchtmann prosecuted this case.