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Thursday, June 21, 2012
DETROIT-AREA CLINIC OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO $16 MILLION MEDICARE FRAUD
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Detroit-Area Clinic Owner Pleads Guilty to $16 Million Psychotherapy Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON – Detroit-area resident Louisa Thompson pleaded guilty today for her role in a $16 million fraud scheme, announced the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Thompson, 63, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Nancy D. Edmunds in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. At sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 18, 2012, Thompson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the plea documents, in approximately January 2006, Thompson began billing Medicare for psychotherapy services through two companies, TGW Medical Inc. and Caldwell Thompson Manor Inc. The services billed by Thompson at TGW and Caldwell Thompson were never performed or were performed by unlicensed staff who were not authorized to perform services reimbursed by Medicare. The unlicensed staff members also fabricated therapy notes for patients that were never seen and billed Medicare using document templates created by Thompson.
According to court documents, Thompson also received payments from the owner of P&C Adult Day Care Inc., a psychotherapy clinic. Those payments to Thompson were, in part, for the use of Thompson’s provider number by P&C. Thompson also admitted signing therapy documents for P&C patients she never saw or treated. P&C, like TGW and Caldwell Thompson, billed for psychotherapy services that were either not performed or performed by unlicensed staff. Caldwell Thompson and P&C shared Medicare beneficiaries and/or beneficiary information.
Thompson admitted to submitting or causing to be submitted approximately $15.9 million in fraudulent psychotherapy claims on behalf of TGW, Caldwell Thompson and P&C. Medicare paid approximately $4.9 million of those claims.
The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office Edward J. Hanko; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the HHS Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG), Chicago Regional Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Gejaa T. Gobena of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Philip A. Ross. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Since its inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 individuals and organizations that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.