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DOJ Busts $3 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 27, 2010

In a related case, the former owner of and a patient recruiter for the Texas durable medical equipment company, Luant & Odera were convicted in April by a federal jury on charges of committing healthcare fraud. Paula Whitfield, the recruiter, was sentenced to a 21 month-prison term and ordered to pay $807,781 in restitution. Helen Etifoh, the former owner, is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 10.

Luant & Odera used the beneficiaries information to bill Medicare for power wheelchairs and scooters "that were neither destroyed by a hurricane nor medically necessary," the DOJ said.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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