BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced that Eunice Sparrow, age 68, and Uniecesco Smith, age 30, both of Plaquemine, Louisiana, have been sentenced to prison by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Brian A. Jackson as a result of their roles in a two-year health care fraud scheme.
Smith was sentenced on June 20, 2012 and ordered to serve a term of imprisonment of 14 months. Sparrow was sentenced this morning to serve a term of imprisonment of 12 months and one day. Each was ordered to serve a term of supervised release following her release from imprisonment and to make restitution to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Smith was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine.
Smith and Sparrow previously entered guilty pleas on February 22, 2012 to several counts of health care fraud. In their plea agreements, the defendants admitted that they knowingly aided and abetted a health care fraud scheme perpetrated by their co-defendant, Linda M. Jackson. From April 2007 through April 2009, Jackson operated a company in Plaquemine, Louisiana called A&A Durable Medical Supply and used the company to defraud Medicare by submitting false reimbursement claims to Medicare for items that the company had never provided. In their plea agreements, Sparrow and Smith admitted that they assisted Jackson in her scheme by completing and signing false delivery tickets and other fraudulent documents at Jackson’s direction. A&A kept the fraudulent documents in its patient files in an attempt to substantiate the fraudulent claims Jackson submitted to Medicare, and Jackson later provided the false documents to an auditor who requested the patient files in the course of an investigation into A&A’s claims. Jackson is awaiting sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. stated, “This is another in a long line of prosecutions for health care fraud in our district. We remain committed to protect the integrity of our health care system and we will continue to strictly enforce our federal health care laws. This sentencing should serve as a deterrent for others who attempt to defraud our health care system for their own personal greed.”
“No American citizen should tolerate theft from our federal health care programs,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge William W. Root of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. “Today’s sentencings are a clear signal that greed has no place in the health care service arena. If you steal from Medicare, we will catch you and you will go to jail,” said Root.
The investigation of this matter was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alan Stevens and Chris Dippel. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.