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Louisiana hospital fraud case results in plea deal

At times, even the best course of action can still result in some form of negative consequence. However, it might still be considered as the best possible option compared to receiving the full force of punishment. This logic may apply to three Louisiana men who agreed to a plea agreement after facing overwhelming health care fraud allegations.

The men were charged after a Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office audit showed they had a hand in submitting fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid bills to a Louisiana hospital. The bills, which amounted to more than $5 million, were allegedly split by the previous hospital administrator, the former auditor of the hospital and an insurance agent. The administrator also allegedly used the hospital's credit card for personal expenses including his daughter's wedding.

In the plea agreement, the former administrator will either pay a penalty of $2.7 million or face a prison sentence of not more than 10 years. He also has to repay the hospital $1.38 million. Likewise, the auditor and insurance agent agreed to a similar deal but will pay lesser fines and restitution. The hospital's legal counsel stated that the objective of the lawsuit was to recover lost assets.

A Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana resident has several options if facing fraud allegations. One of which is making a plea bargain with prosecutors so that penalties will be significantly reduced. However, in such a situation, the accused should carefully study the proposed plea agreement to determine if it is still within his or her best interests to agree and to ensure that is not a one-sided deal.

Another option is to fight for possible dismissal of all charges. Whatever choice a Calcasieu Parish resident makes, the sound advice of a criminal law professional can be invaluable.

Source: The News Star, "3 in hospital fraud accept plea deal," Scott Rogers, Jan. 7, 2014

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