A Plaquemine couple are headed to federal prison after admitting that they used their medical equipment company to defraud Medicare of slightly more than $1 million.
Henry Ray Stewart, 47, was sentenced in Baton Rouge by U.S. District Judge James J. Brady to a prison term of 46 months.
Helen Faye Stewart received a three-year prison term.
The husband-and-wife team pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud.
Brady ruled Thursday that the Stewarts must pay restitution of more than $1 million to the nation’s insurer for the elderly and disabled.
The Stewarts operated Carefree Medical Supply.
Betweem January 2006 and March 2008, according to their charge, the Stewarts and “others known and unknown to the United States attorney” falsely billed Medicare for $1.9 million in power wheelchairs, orthotics and other durable medical equipment.
In a plea agreement, the Stewarts signed with Assistant U.S. Attorney Shubhra Shivpuri and their attorney, Jarvis M. Antwine, each defendant agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and investigators.
If requested, they must testify in future proceedings.
The Stewarts admitted they billed Medicare for equipment that was either medically unnecessary or never delivered to Medicare beneficiaries.
In some cases, Medicare was billed for expensive equipment for which inferior products were substituted.
Henry Stewart owned, operated and managed Carefree, court records show.
Helen Stewart was described as a “managing employee.”
Records of the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office list Henry Stewart as the company’s agent.
Helen Stewart is listed as an officer and member of the firm.