Cassandra Faye Thomas was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for healthcare fraud, and ordered to pay $6,924,958.60 in restitution and to forfeit $6,924,988.60 to the United States.
According to the government, Thomas engaged in simple, outright fraud. She owned a “physical medicine” group that claimed to provide physical therapy services to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in their homes, free of charge to the beneficiary. She then submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid, representing that the therapy services had either been provided by a doctor, provided under the doctor’s direct supervision, or provided by a licensed physical therapist.
In fact, the government claimed, none of the services were provided or supervised by a doctor or a licensed physical therapist. Instead, the therapy services were provided by employees who were not trained or licensed physical therapists. Most of the employees, according to the government, had little or no medical training at all.
Despite being an outright fraud, Medicare and Medicaid paid Thomas’ company more than $6,900,000.00 during a period of only six months, from March, 2002, until September, 2004.
How could a fraudulent physical therapy service collect almost $7 million in false claims over a six-month period? The answer is: Medicare and Medicaid have become so massive that the government simply cannot check up on all the beneficiaries and providers receiving payments.
The only way the government can uncover even blatant frauds is if someone on the inside comes forward with evidence. That is why the government pays substantial rewards to whistleblowers – anywhere from 15% to 30% of the amount the government ultimately recovers.
In the case of a $7 million fraud, that means a reward of between $1 million and $2 million for the whistleblower.
If you have personal knowledge or evidence of Medicare or Medicaid fraud, then you should consult with an experienced lawyer immediately to protect your rights.To schedule a free and confidential consultation by telephone or in person, call my office today at (212) 601-2728 or click here to communicate with me via email.
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