Agency Owner Sentenced in $400 Million Home Health Fraud
The owner of a home health agency in Dallas has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in the nation’s largest home health care fraud scheme in history—a nearly $400 million scam, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Wilbert James Veasey, Jr., 65, was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $23 million in restitution to Medicare and more than $500,000 to Medicaid. Veasey, along with several others involved in the scheme, was found guilty last year. He has been in custody since early 2016.
Veasey, along with co-defendants Jacques Roy, M.D., 59; Cynthia Stiger, 54; and Charity Eleda, 56, were each convincted on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Roy was also convicted on eight counts of health care fraud; Veasey was convicted of an additional three counts, and Eleda on four counts. Three other defendants in the case pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme, serving time ranging from one to three years, and were ordered to pay $25 million in restitution.
The group engaged in a “large-scale, sophisticated health care fraud scheme,” involving companies they owned—Medistat Group Associated, P.A., Apple of Your Eye Health Care Services, Inc., Ultimate Care Home Health Services and Charry Home Care Services.
As part of the scam, Veasey and others recruited individuals with Medicare benefits to sign up for Medicare home health care services. Eleda also recruited patients from a Dallas homeless shelter, sometimes paying recruiters up to $50 per beneficiary that was directed to her vehicle parked outside the shelter’s gates. Eleda and other nurses also falsified medical documents and prepared plans of care that were not medically necessary.
Dr. Roy’s fraud scope was “massive,” according to the government, as he signed off on care plans and visited patients, performed unnecessary home visits and ordered unnecessary medical services for recruited beneficiaries. His company, Medistat, processed and approved care plans for 11,000 unique Medicare beneficiaries for more than 500 different home health agencies.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Written by Amy Baxter