Texan Gets Six Years for Medicare Fraud

     HOUSTON (CN) - A Texan who fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid $2.4 million for body braces was sentenced to six years in federal prison.
     Lawrence Tyler, 42, also was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
     After a five-day trial in May it took a Houston jury less than four hours to convict Tyler. U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. sentenced him on Friday.
     Tyler ran the medical equipment company 1866-ICPayday.com from 2006 to 2008.
     He defrauded Medicare and Medicaid for two years, from January 2007 until December 2008, prosecutors said in a statement.
     "He falsely billed Medicare and Medicaid for so-called 'ortho kits' which consisted of an assortment of various back, knee, ankle, wrist and shoulder braces," according to the U.S. attorney.
     "Tyler allegedly billed for equipment that never was delivered, billed for equipment using prescriptions from a physician who never treated the patients, and upcoded - billing for an expensive brace but delivering a cheaper brace that did not fit the billing code or did not qualify for any Medicare reimbursement.
     "During the conspiracy, Tyler submitted approximately $2.4 million in claims for durable medical equipment and was paid approximately $1.2 million by Medicare and Medicaid," prosecutors said.
     Tyler had help with his scheme as he paid kickbacks to Birdie Leroy Revis in return for beneficiary data and phony prescriptions from Revis' cousin, Dr. John Perry, prosecutors said.
     "Many of the beneficiaries testified that they did not know Perry and had never been treated by him. Revis was convicted of illegally receiving kickbacks, while Perry was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in separate cases," prosecutors said in the statement.
     Tyler used $140,000 of his ill-gotten gains to buy a house in the Houston suburb of Humble, which the government seeks in forfeiture.
     Tyler was convicted of money laundering, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and seven counts of health care fraud.