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Archive for Friday, August 16, 2002

Three indicted in wheelchair fraud scheme

August 16, 2002

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— A federal grand jury has indicted two Johnson County men and a Lawrence woman in connection with a scheme that allegedly defrauded Medicare, its beneficiaries and a wheelchair manufacturer.

Terence Cooper, 34, of Overland Park, Paige A. Heck, 60, of Lawrence, and her son, Frank D. Heck, 38, of Shawnee, were indicted Wednesday on one count of conspiracy, 12 of health-care fraud, two of wire fraud and 14 of money laundering.

The indictment alleges that Cooper and the Hecks operated a now-defunct business, Midwest Health Care Providers Inc., which offered a "senior wheels program." The defendants are accused of billing Medicare for more expensive, motorized wheelchairs and wheelchair cushions than the defendants provided to Medicare beneficiaries

They also are accused of inducing Invacare Corp., which makes motorized wheelchairs, to provide products on credit, while knowing that the Medicare reimbursements would not be used to repay Invacare but would instead be diverted to another business, Total Body & Fitness, an Olathe health club.

The three defendants are accused of defrauding Medicare of $642,973 between January 1996 and December 1998.

The three defendants are scheduled to appear Tuesday before a U.S. magistrate in Topeka.

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