Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Former Owner of Rest Assure Home Medical Equipment Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Health Care Fraud Charges

Medicare Scammed Out of $175,923.83

LAFAYETTE, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that the former owner of Rest Assure Home Medical Equipment, located in Rayne, Louisiana, made an appearance in federal court and pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud related to her obtaining $175,923.83 in Medicare reimbursements to which she was not entitled.

Dorothy Cole, age 59, of Rayne, Louisiana, was charged by bill of information on June 20, 2012, with five counts of health care fraud. According to court documents filed today, Cole was the owner and president of Rest Assure Home Medical Equipment. Rest Assure Home Medical Equipment provided durable medical equipment such as power wheelchairs and scooters to Medicare beneficiaries. Beginning in August of 2007 and continuing through April of 2009, Cole billed Medicare for a more expensive type of wheelchair, but provided her customers with scooters, which were not reimbursable by Medicare, and less expensive wheelchairs that were reimbursed by Medicare at a lower rate.

During the guilty plea hearing, Cole acknowledged that she submitted false claims to Medicare and obtained $175,923.83 in Medicare reimbursements to which she was not entitled.

At sentencing, this defendant faces a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of at least one year but not more than three years. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

The case was investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lafayette Resident Agency, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly P. Uebinger.

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