Texas Attorney Admits to $26M Workers’ Comp Scam

DALLAS (CN) – A Dallas-area lawyer pleaded guilty Thursday to a scheme to rip off over $26 million in workers’ compensation benefits, federal prosecutors said.

Tshombe Anderson, 54, of Grand Prairie, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Anderson will also forfeit $375,000 seized from his home, a 2015 Mercedes and his share of over $8.3 million seized from 25 bank accounts.

Prosecutors say Anderson conspired with four relatives to file over $26 million in fraudulent claims for durable medical equipment with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation Program.

His sister Lydia Bankhead, 63, wife Brenda Anderson, 47, sister-in-law Janet Anderson, 43 and niece Lydia Taylor, 30, will stand trial on Sept. 25.

Anderson was formerly employed as an attorney at Union Treatment Center in Austin.

He and his wife were fired in May 2011 after an audit showed “they appeared to be engaging in fraudulent billing practices,” according to the criminal complaint.

Prosecutors say Anderson first opened a durable medical equipment company with his wife called Best First Administration to provide equipment to patients referred from UTC.

He later opened Union Medical Supplies and Equipment with Bankhead in April 2013 and started Skycare Medical Supplies and Equipment in with his sister-in-law  in August 2013.

“Both companies were created in order to submit claims that were inappropriate to OWCP,” prosecutors said in a statement Thursday. “The same medical information that BFA had received from UTC was used and billed to the same universe of claimants for duplicate, unwanted durable medical equipment that was not medically necessary, using outdated medical information.”

Prosecutors say that every single bill submitted by at least two of the defendants’ companies was fraudulent.

They claim Anderson “had access to the operating accounts for UMSE and routinely transferred large sums of cash from those accounts for his personal use or to launder through business accounts” for a shell account and accounts for his law office.

Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 29.

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