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Archive for Thursday, August 15, 2002

Trio charged with defrauding Medicare

August 15, 2002

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— A Lawrence woman was one of three people indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in a health-care fraud scheme.

Paige A. Heck, 60, Lawrence, her son, Frank D. Heck, 38, Shawnee, and Terence Cooper, 34, Overland Park, are accused of defrauding Medicare of $642,973.

Specifically, they are charged with 12 counts of health-care fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy and 14 counts of money laundering.

According to the indictment, the three, along with others so far unnamed, were involved in a scheme to defraud Medicare and its beneficiaries, and Invacare Corp., a company that manufactures motorized wheelchairs.

The suspects were owners of several former businesses and allegedly placed ads for a "Senior Wheels Program" involving power wheelchairs, scooters and walkers and provided a phone number to call.

The suspects then allegedly billed Medicare for more expensive motorized wheelchairs than were provided to beneficiaries.

Charges also allege the suspects devised a scheme to defraud Invacare Corp. by getting the firm to continue providing products on credit when they knew that Medicare proceeds from the sale of Invacare products would not be used to repay Invacare. Instead, proceeds were diverted to a health club in Olathe.

If convicted, the three face sentences of up to five years in prison without parole for conspiracy and wire fraud and up to 10 years for health-care fraud.

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