A judge has sentenced the owner of durable medical equipment company WaveCare Health Services to 42 months in prison over Medicaid fraud.
The owner, Waveney Blackman, pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud last year in an agreement that documented the billing of Medicaid for wound care products that were not purchased or provided.
According to the plea documents, Blackman submitted $9.8 million in false and fraudulent claims, generating proceeds of $9.4 million.
Blackman was one of 601 people charged last summer as part of a nationwide crackdown on healthcare fraud. The WaveCare owner pleaded guilty within a month of being charged and signed a plea agreement that laid out how her company made $9.4 million through false claims from 2010 to 2016.
The fraud, as documented in the plea deal, involved the filing of claims to Medicaid for incontinence products, wound care supplies and other pieces of durable medical equipment. The claims were filed by Blackman and her employees via a biller engaged by WaveCare but the products were never purchased or provided to Medicaid beneficiaries.
When the government brought its case against Blackman, it seized a Mercedes, seven properties and money it traced to two bank accounts. The judge ordered Blackman to forfeit $9.4 million, the sum of WaveCare proceeds detailed in the plea agreement.
The nationwide effort that led to the charges against Blackman resulted in cases against other people involved in the durable medical equipment business, including defendants who allegedly perpetrated a scheme that paid more than $1 million in kickbacks and filed $2.5 million in fraudulent Medicare claims.
Both cases were brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which operates 14 teams in 23 districts. Since starting out in 2007, the strike force has charged 4,000 people accused of making $14 billion in false claims.