2 convicted of $8.9M Medicare scam in 4 Gulf Coast states

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Federal prosecutors say two owners of psychological service companies have been convicted in an $8.9 million Medicare fraud scheme that billed Medicare for unnecessary or nonexistent tests on nursing home patients in four Gulf Coast states.

Rodney Hesson, 47, and his mother, 63-year-old Gertrude Parker, plan to appeal their conspiracy convictions, attorneys said in emails Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier scheduled sentencing for May 4 for both defendants, who owned separate companies in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

A jury convicted them Tuesday of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and of conspiracy to make false statements about health care, the news release said.

Jurors also found them responsible for $8.9 million in fraudulent payments, said they must forfeit $525,600 that investigators seized. Hesson should forfeit his home, according to the news release.

"The government asked for around $13.5 million in forfeiture, but the jury came back with the lower amount," Hesson's attorney, Patrick Fanning, wrote. "Unless my guy hits the Powerball, it really won't matter."

Attorney Brian Capitelli said Parker also plans to appeal.

Two psychologists who worked for them — Beverly Stubblefield of Slidell and John Teal of Jackson, Mississippi — pleaded guilty in September, admitting they were responsible for more than $5.6 million in fraudulent claims.

Hesson, a psychologist, owned Nursing Home Psychological Services of Louisiana LLC and similarly named companies in the other states. Parker owned Psychological Care Services of Louisiana and a similarly named company in each other state.

Between 2009 and 2015, the eight companies submitted more than $25.2 million in claims to Medicare, which paid more than $13.5 million on fraudulent claims, the statement said.

Category: