Crushed By Wheelin’ and Dealin’

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It should be a relief to honest citizens to know that bankruptcy isn’t simply a get-out-of-jail-free card for fraudsters. According to KentReporter.com, Washington state authorities rolled right over a man who willingly endangered poor and disabled patients when he provided them with used wheelchairs that he falsely claimed were new.

The report details how the man ”cobbled together” mismatched parts (including soiled pads and cushions—yuck!) from used wheelchairs that he purchased for a couple hundred dollars. To make each chair appear new, he would repaint it and apply a phony serial number. (I’m all for recycling, but not as part of someone’s get-rich-quick fraud scheme.) He then would provide the chairs to Medicaid patients and send wildly inflated bills to the state-subsidized health care program, under the guise that the chairs were ”new.” He illegally collected more than $550,000 in Medicaid payments through the scam.

What’s even worse is that he attempted to protect these ”assets” by filing for bankruptcy, after authorities caught on and filed a $2.7 million civil judgment against him in an attempt to recover the fraudulently acquired funds. A judge ruled that this fraudster would not be permitted to use bankruptcy to get out of paying the judgment. (It goes without saying that the government, generally, is not going to react well to further attempts to exploit it, after you’ve already been caught pilfering its pockets.)

When all was said and done, the man was ordered to pay the government the full $2.7 million judgment for wrongfully billing Medicaid for 119 wheelchairs. In a separate criminal case filed by the Washington state Attorney General’s Office, he was convicted of one count of first-degree theft and two counts of Medicaid false statement—both felonies.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Attorney General secures $2.7 million Medicaid fraud judgment against Wheelchairs Plus president,” published by KentReporter.com on March 1, 2016.

The owner of a Seattle wheelchair company has been ordered to pay $2.7 million for fraudulently billing the Medicaid program for 119 new wheelchairs, but instead delivering used wheelchairs to the poor and disabled across the state. Michael Mann cannot avoid paying the judgment due to bankruptcy.

Mann purchased used wheelchair parts from websites such as Craigslist or from nursing home ”bone yards.” Mann then cobbled together mismatched parts, including soiled pads and cushions. After reassembling chairs, he would slap on a new coat of paint and add a false serial number that identified the chair as new.

After Mann delivered the used wheelchair to a Medicaid client, he submitted a false claim to the state Medicaid program—which does not cover used wheelchairs—seeking several thousand dollars in reimbursement for a ”new” chair.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.