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August 26, 11

NEWS / Detroit Occupational Therapist Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON Ė A Detroit-area occupational therapist pleaded guilty today for her participation in a Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Carol Gant, 66, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. At sentencing, Gant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the plea documents, Gant was an occupational therapist who worked for Jos Campau Physical Therapy, which purported to provide physical and occupational therapy services. In 2005, Gant was hired by Jos Campau Physical Therapy to create and sign falsified occupational therapy files. Gant created patient evaluation forms for Medicare beneficiaries whom she had never met, seen or evaluated.

Gant admitted that she hired an uncertified occupational therapy assistant, who fabricated and signed notes for occupational therapy patient visits that the assistant purported to perform. Gant paid the uncertified assistant for creating these fictitious patient visit notes and countersigned them. Gant also filled out patient discharge paperwork. Gant provided no services to the patients whose files she created and countersigned. Gant was paid for each patient file that she created. Gant knew that neither she nor the uncertified occupational therapy assistant were providing occupational therapy services to the beneficiaries as stated in the falsified files.

Gant admitted that between approximately June 2005 and May 2007, she and her co-conspirators at Jos Campau submitted or caused the submission of fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. Gant submitted or caused to be submitted approximately $897,512 in claims for occupational therapy services that were never rendered.

Todayís guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade, Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena of the FBIís Detroit Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the HHS Office of Inspector Generalís (OIG) Chicago Regional Office.

This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Catherine K. Dick of the Criminal Divisionís Fraud Section. It was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Divisionís Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorneyís Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,000 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.


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