The office manager of a home health company at the center of a $50 million fraud scheme in New Orleans was sentenced to prison today for participating in the scheme.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey S. Sallet of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office, Special Agent in Charge CJ Porter of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Dallas Regional Office and the Louisiana Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit made the announcement.
Joe Ann Murthil, 58, of New Orleans, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance of the Eastern District of Louisiana to serve 48 months in prison. In addition to the prison term, Murthil was ordered to pay $14,147,275 in restitution.
Murthil, Memorial Home Health Inc.’s (Memorial’s) office manager, assisted with the payment of illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters and submitted claims to Medicare falsely stating that patients were homebound and had received services. From 2007 through 2014, Memorial and the other companies in this scheme submitted more than $56 million in claims to Medicare, the vast majority of which were fraudulent. Medicare paid approximately $50.7 million on these claims.
This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG and the Louisiana Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Louisiana. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys William Kanellis and Antonio Pozos of the Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion. In addition, HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.