Medical equipment company owner charged in $70M Medicare con

The owner of a durable medical equipment company was charged for his alleged role in a scheme that defrauded Medicare of more than $70 million.

Joel Rufus French, 46, of Amory, Miss., managed multiple medical equipment companies without disclosing his role to Medicare, allowing him and his co-conspirators to bill Medicare for medically unnecessary orthopedic braces that were obtained through kickbacks and bribes, that were never provided to patients, and that were ineligible for Medicare reimbursement, according to an April 15 news release from the Justice Department. Mr. French also allegedly sold physicians' orders to suppliers and brokers in exchange for kickbacks and bribes and is suspected to have participated in a scheme to launder proceeds from his schemes.

Mr. French was charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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