The owner and director of nursing of a Louisiana home health agency were each convinced Friday for conspiring to defraud Medicare of $17.1 million, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Louis T. Age, 64, and Verna S. Age, 60, both of Slidell, La., were each convicted by a federal jury in the Middle District of Louisiana of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Louis Age owned South Louisiana Home Health Care Inc. and operated the company alongside his former wife, Verna, who served as the company’s Director of Nursing.
Between 2005 and 2011, the Ages paid recruiters to obtain Medicare beneficiary information, according to evidence presented at trial, which also showed Louis had hired and paid medical doctors to sign referrals and certifications for home health services that were not medically necessary.
As Director of Nursing, Verna Age falsified and directed others to falsify certification evaluations and other forms to make it appear that home health services were medically necessary.
At trial, Ayanna Age Alvarez, who previously plead guilty in the case, testified that she was trained by her father, Louis, and her stepmother, Verna, to pay recruiters kickbacks to recruit beneficiaries, to falsify patient files and to pay doctors kickbacks for their signatures on home health certifications.
Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries testified that they did not need the services that South Louisiana Home Health Care billed to Medicare.
Louis Age was also convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks. Verna Age was previously convicted in the case of once count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks.
The conspiracy to commit health care fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing dates for Louis and Verna Age have not yet been scheduled.
Written by Jason Oliva