Texas Doctor Indicted In Record Medicare Fraud Case
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The Justice Department has indicted a doctor and six others for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of nearly $375 million. That would be a record amount for medical fraud by single doctors, say federal authorities. Yesterday's indictments are the latest in a series of Medicare fraud cases brought by the Obama administration. From Dallas, NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Prosecutors allege the scheme went like this: Dr. Jacques Roy - a Canadian who moved first to Alabama, and then to Texas - used his office as a home healthcare clearinghouse, rubber-stamping approvals in his office basement like the banks robo-signed home foreclosures.
According to the indictment, Roy got home healthcare agencies - some of them allegedly crooked - to go door-to-door and sign people up in exchange for cash or free medical care, or even groceries. Peter Budetti was part of the federal investigative team that hunted the doctor down.
PETER BUDETTI: Dr. Roy and his co-conspirators for years ran a well-oiled fraudulent enterprise, making millions of dollars by recruiting thousands of patients for unnecessary services and billing Medicare for those services. One defendant allegedly paid recruiters $50 for each beneficiary the recruiter could deliver from a Dallas homeless shelter.
GOODWYN: The homeless shelter eventually banned Dr. Roy from the premises, but prosecutors say he just went down the street and set up shop in a church, which probably thought it was helping the homeless get medical treatment.
Prosecutors say Jacques Roy created another identity for himself, including a Canadian birth certificate and a Texas driver's license, along with bank accounts in the Cayman Islands all under the name Michel Poulin. Why Mr. Poulin did not try to escape Dallas in 2011 when he first became aware that federal prosecutors were closing in on him is not known.
Instead, investigators say the good doctor doubled down, intensifying his operations, recruiting 6,000 more beneficiaries before federal officers knocked on his door yesterday and put an end to it. Jacques Roy from Quebec faces spending the rest of his life in federal prison.
Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.
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