Fraudsters keep getting more and more creative. On September 29th, federal prosecutors said that Illinois medical equipment supplier Gary Winner, 49, pled guilty in Rhode Island to charges that he shipped unwanted “erectile pumps” to diabetes patients as part of a Medicare fraud scheme.
Winner was accused of purchasing $26 penis enlargers from an adult website, repackaging them and shipping them to patients with information that claimed that the devices helped “bladder control, urinary flow and prostate comfort.” He then charged Medicare $284 for each pump, claiming that they treated erectile dysfunction, prosecutors said. The scheme started in 2005, and Winner agreed to forfeit $2 million from his earnings, said Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.
The Northbrook, Ill. Resident signed a plea agreement wherein he plead guilty to five charges, Neronha said, including health care fraud, the introduction of an adulterated and misbranded medical device into interstate commerce and money laundering. Prosecutors claim that Winner targeted Medicare beneficiaries through his medical equipment company, Planned Eldercare, and persuaded them to provide their Medicare information in exchange for free medical equipment and supplies. According to prosecutors, the scheme targeted arthritis and diabetes patients through telemarketing.
When confronted by employees about sending supplies to arthritis patients regardless of need, Winner is accused of replying with, “it doesn’t cost the client anything as the government is paying for it, and that the government would just print more money, so order more.” A change-of-plea hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 18. Winner faces up to 33 years in prison and $760,000 in fines, prosecutors said.
This is just the kind of misguided ignorance and greed that has led to the medical fraud epidemic in America. The Fraud Dog says – “fraudsters will go to great lengths to beat the Medicare system. Whether it is erectile pumps or prosthesis legs, they stoop to all lengths to bleed the Medicare system dry.”
Help stop the fraud epidemic, contact Contego Services Group today for fraud investigation services, insurance services, risk management services and more. Call 1-855-WE-SWARM today.