Driving Thousands of Fake Miles


Criminals will go to great lengths to steal money, even if they have to drive tens of thousands of fake miles to carry out a scam. (So, how does one drive fake miles?) The husband and wife owners of a Texas laboratory company settled a lawsuit against them involving the submission of excessive mileage claims to Medicare.

A qui tam lawsuit was filed against the lab and its owners by a former employee. (Qui tam lawsuits allow whistleblowers to recover a portion of the funds collected by the U.S. government.) The former employee claimed that the company used questionable billing practices, alleging that mileage claims for the collection of lab specimens over four years were inflated. She approached the couple with her concerns, but when the issues were not resolved, she submitted her resignation. The U.S. government intervened at that point to settle the lawsuit.

The couple and their company admitted to submitting false claims to Medicare that included inflated mileage calculations. They now owe the health care program $3.75 million to settle the False Claims Act lawsuit. (It’s hard to fake your way out of being guilty when someone on the inside has overwhelming evidence. The whistle blower’s take is $787,500 for alerting the government.) The settlement also includes another lawsuit where the government sought to forfeit funds and property held by the owners and their company as a result of their fraudulent acts.

Thanks to the whistle blower in this case, the company and the woman are excluded from participating in Medicare for eight years, while the man is excluded for 10 years. (These two fraudsters have effectively been stopped from driving away with funds intended for the nation’s elderly, who have paid into the government health care system so that they could have vital health care services.)

Source:Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on a Department of Justice press release entitled, “East Texas Laboratory Company and Owners Agree to $3.75 Million Payment for False Medicare Claims” released on December 13, 2016.

TYLER, Texas –  Elite Lab Services, LLC, along with its husband-and-wife owners Gerard and Suzanne Dengler, will pay the United States $3.75 million after billing Medicare for tens of thousands of miles that were never driven by Elite Lab’s personnel, announced Acting United States Attorney Brit Featherston.

“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas continues to combat white-collar fraud at every turn,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Featherston.  “Medicare is designed to ensure that this country’s elderly have access to vital health care services.  Unfortunately, some providers fraudulently raid these limited public funds for purely personal gain—misconduct that our office will tirelessly prosecute.”

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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.