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Federal crime: woman faces Medicare fraud, pleads not guilty

Allegations involving health care fraud can harm a person's reputation. Generally, federal health care fraud such as Medicare and Medicaid fraud is all about overbilling and involves a huge amount of money. These fraudulent acts are considered white collar crimes that often require extensive research and attention before the person accused is convicted of the charges.

Here in Calcasieu, Louisiana, health care providers are sometimes accused of federal health care fraud. This offense is a violation of state and federal laws, which can lead to stiff fines and penalties. Furthermore, an accused person will most likely be subjected to discrimination by the public and his or her colleagues, especially those whose identification numbers were used to commit fraudulent acts.

Health care fraud not only happens in Louisiana; it may also occur in other parts of the country, which was the case of a woman in the nearby state of Mississippi. The owner of a hospice was accused of defrauding Medicare for more than $11 million and she allegedly used the proceeds to buy 20 cars. The alleged scheme started in 2009 and ended in 2012.

Prosecutors accused the woman of billing Medicare for services that were not rendered. The prosecutors added that recruiters from hospice went door to door and asked the residents to have their blood pressure checked. The information from the residents was allegedly used to bill Medicare for services rendered. Federal officials claim that some of the billing involved forging of patient and doctors' signatures.

The suspect pleaded not guilty to the charges. The hearing for the case is scheduled for December.

All eyes are on this case due to the involvement of Medicare and the amount of money involved, which is $11 million. Prosecutors will present evidence to support their claims against the suspect. Still, the person under suspicion has certain rights that can be exercised, can obtain legal representation and establish a defense in court. Further, the burden is on the prosecution to prove that the defendant is guilty.

In similar cases, it is best to act promptly in order to steer the case in favor of the defendant. Legal assistance can also help the suspect to present him- or herself in court, which may lead to the case's dismissal.

Source: Commercialappeal.com, "Mississippi woman charged in Medicare fraud bought 20 cars," Holbrook Mohr, Oct. 7, 2013

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