Federal prosecutors this week sentenced another piece of one of the largest Medicare fraud schemes in history, which cost the government $375 million over six years.
A federal judge determined Jerry C. Bullard was responsible for $583,688 of that and sentenced him to 33 months in prison. He is ordered to turn himself in on July 15.
Bullard, 57, of Mesquite, pled guilty in February 2012 to a single count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. He will also pay $317,779 in restitution.
According to U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña, Bullard worked in the durable medical equipment department of the DeSoto-based Medistat Group Associates. He teamed with co-defendant Okey Nwagbara, the owner and operator of Richardson’s Advanced Medequip and Supplies Ltd., another durable medical equipment company.
Nwagbara would fire cash kickbacks to Bullard for directing business to Advanced. He would also pay him for signing orders over to his company. Bullard would forge “JRoy MD” on prescription pads and certificates of medical necessity. The feds say he falsely indicated that the beneficiary of the products needed them when that wasn’t the case.
That “JRoy MD” was Medistat’s owner, Dr. Jacques A. Roy, who is accused of orchestrating one of the largest Medicare fraud plots in history. They say his DeSoto business was ground zero for the scheme, which cost the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services $375 million and resulted in a still-active six-month moratorium against home healthcare agencies from billing Medicare in Dallas and Houston.
Roy’s scheme allegedly involved 11,000 home healthcare patients and 500 home healthcare agencies over six years.
Bullard and Nwagbara were just pieces of the larger crime. Nwagbara, who lived in Plano, is serving a 36-month federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in January 2012. He will be referred to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for deportation.
According to the indictment, the physicians worked at Roy’s “direction” to file the false claims.
“The conduct charged in this indictment represents the single largest fraud amount orchestrated by one doctor in the history of HEAT and our Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations,” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole, following the arrests in 2012. “Thanks to the historic partnerships we’ve built to combat health care fraud, we are sending a clear message: If you victimize American taxpayers, we will track you down and prosecute you.”
Roy’s long-delayed trial was reset in March until Jan 5, 2015, according to court documents. It was previously set for June 23. The order cites the court’s “heavy docket, the complexity of the case, and the length of the trial” as reasons.
It also includes a stern warning: “All parties are on notice that this is a firm date and that no continuances will be granted unless exceptional or unusual circumstances exist.”
“It is high time for this case to be resolved either through pleas or trial,” it continues.
Roy has pled not guilty.