BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced today that a Federal Jury on Tuesday, August 21, 2012, convicted Sandra Parkman Thompson, 57, of New Orleans, Louisiana, of health care fraud and conspiracy to pay and receive illegal remunerations.
Thompson faces a maximum sentence of 135 years in prison, fines of $3,500,000, and forfeiture of all proceeds of the health care scheme to defraud.
The convictions are a result of Thompson’s participation in a scheme to defraud, which also included Young and Beatrice Anyanwu, the owners of the Baton Rouge-based company known as Lobdale Medical Services; and Dr. Anthony Stephen Jase, a physician practicing in New Orleans, Louisiana. As part of the scheme to defraud, Thompson and others procured the names and personal information of Medicare beneficiaries in and around the New Orleans area and delivered these names to Dr. Jase, who then signed false and fraudulent prescriptions for power wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment for which the Medicare beneficiaries had no medical need. Thompson subsequently delivered the fraudulent prescriptions to the Anyanwus, who submitted claims to Medicare through Lobdale Medical Services for the medically unnecessary equipment. The total billings to Medicare by Lobdale Medicare Services exceeded $1,000,000.
Thompson, along with the Anyanwus and Doretha Paul Augustus, another recruiter of Medicare beneficiaries, also participated in a conspiracy to pay and receive illegal remuneration for the durable medical equipment billed by Lobdale. The Anyanwus paid Thompson and Augustus a kickback for every claim for power wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment items that were submitted to, and paid by, Medicare. The kickback was based on a percentage of the reimbursement value thereby providing an incentive to recruit beneficiary claims for the most expensive models of durable medical equipment.
Dr. Anthony Stephen Jase pled guilty to the health care fraud scheme to defraud on October 31, 2012. Beatrice and Young Anyanwu pled guilty to the health care fraud scheme to defraud, as well as the illegal remuneration conspiracy, on August 14, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. stated, “We will not tolerate thieves who commit Medicare fraud, as they steal from taxpayers and undermine a vitally important program for our elderly and disabled. As part of a well-coordinated, multi-agency and cross-jurisdictional approach, we will continue to focus on catching those who attempt to defraud the Medicare system and to prosecute them vigorously.”
“I think that hearing from the Medicare recipients themselves made a significant impact on this case,” said Special Agent in Charge William Root. “Hearing from one in particular who now needed a manual wheelchair but was unable to receive one from Medicare because the defendant sold her name to the highest bidder for a power wheelchair prescription disturbed us all.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson stated, “In an age of skyrocketing health care costs and identity theft, we cannot afford to allow such privacy invasions and fraud to further burden American citizens.”
The investigation of Thompson was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Service, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Louisiana Department of Justice. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine M. Maraist, J. Christopher Dippel, Jr. and Reginald E. Jones.