A sad reality that we’ll have to come to grips with is that there will always be instances of health care fraud. Too often, we collectively say such things as “this has got to stop” when hearing of crimes and other atrocities in our nation. Yes, the sentiment should always be that horrible acts should never occur. Alas, there are far too many people who disagree with us. As a result, fraudsters continue to find ways to scam good people out of money.
Detra Wiley Pate is one of those people. As reported by the Southern District of Georgia branch of the United States Department of Justice this week, the medical business owner has been sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison for Medicare fraud. She was originally convicted in December 2018 of 33 counts of fraud and identity theft.
Pate owns and is the CEO of Southern Respiratory LLC in Thomson, Georgia.
Court documents and testimony state that from 2014 to 2016, “Pate submitted thousands of false claims, fabricated patient files, and falsified prescriptions from doctors for items such as heavy-duty wheelchairs while providing much cheaper standard wheelchairs to patients – and pocketing the substantial difference in cost. Pate used the money she stole from Medicare through this fraud to pay for such things as jewelry, including a 1.5 carat diamond and a Rolex watch.”
In addition to a total of 121 months in prison, Pate will also have to pay $950,000 in restitution, and serve three years of supervised release after completing her sentence. There is also no parole in the federal system, so her sentence will have to be served in full. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, Bobby L. Christine made the announcement about Pate’s sentencing this past Tuesday.
“Detra Wiley Pate had every opportunity to operate a successful, legitimate business serving the needs of the elderly and vulnerable in her community,” he is quoted as saying in the DoJ report, “Instead, she got greedy and charged Medicare for expensive equipment patients neither needed nor received, using prescriptions doctors had not written. As an ironic result, she’ll grow old in prison while reflecting on her fraud.”
45 year-old, Dominic Trumbo will soon be facing prison time as well.
The Department of Justice also reports that the Lexington, Kentucky native was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks and three counts of receipt of health care kickbacks. His sentencing will take place on December 3rd. According to the report, evidence presented at Trumbo’s trial showed that between 2009 and 2017, he engaged in an illegal kick scheme to defraud Medicare of about $1.3 million.
The owner of Trumbo Consulting Agency, Trumbo referred Medicare beneficiaries to serve as patients at multiple home health agencies. “These home health agencies then submitted claims to Medicare for home health services that were purportedly provided to those beneficiaries,” the DoJ details.
Are you an attorney who is currently trying a health care fraud case?
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