Owner of Texas Durable Medical Equipment Companies Sentenced to 41 Months
|U.S. Department of Justice April 18, 2013|
WASHINGTON—Hugh Marion Willett, the owner of two Texas-based durable medical equipment companies, was sentenced today to 41 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $182,450 in restitution, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Willett, 69, of Fort Worth, Texas, was found guilty in January by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle in the Northern District of Texas on all seven counts of a June 2012 second superseding indictment, including one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of health care fraud stemming from a durable medical equipment (DME) fraud scheme. His wife, Jean Willett, previously pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced in September 2012 to 50 months in prison.
The evidence at trial showed that between 2006 and 2010, the Willets co-owned and operated JS&H Orthopedic Supply LLC and Texas Orthotic and Prosthetic Systems Inc., which claimed to provide orthotics and other DME to beneficiaries of Medicare and private insurance benefit programs including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and CIGNA.
Evidence presented in court proved that both of these companies intentionally submitted claims to Medicare and other insurers for products that were materially different from and more expensive than what was actually provided and that Hugh Marion Willett was a knowing and willful participant in the fraud.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was prosecuted by Fraud Section Trial Attorney Ben O’Neil.
Since their inception in March 2007, strike force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,480 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.