Crushed By Wheelin’ and Dealin’


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, 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 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.

Read More

Previous articleSomething Old, Something New, Something Borrowed…or Embezzled?
Next articleWeeding out Fraud
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.