Prosecutors claim Regina Swims-King defrauded the federal Medicare program out of millions of dollars. She was charged with several counts of healthcare fraud earlier this year but the indictment was sealed and only last week did more details about her alleged spending spree using tax dollars emerge.
According to the indictment, Swims-King owns Angelic Hospice, a hospice care provider in Greenwood, Mississippi. The government claims that the hospice was billing Medicare for services not provided, billing for services that were medically unnecessary and filing claims with forged physician signatures. Together these false claims add up to millions of dollars.
In one example, prosecutors say that the hospice billed Medicare $580,811 for referrals from Dr. William Booker. There was only one problem, Booker claims he never referred any patients to the hospice.
In a novel way of obtaining confidential patient information in order to submit false bills to Medicare, prosecutors say that a hospice recruiter went door-to-door offering “free” blood pressure checks. The patient’s information was then used without their permission to bill Medicare for services never performed.
Regina Swims-King faces 37 counts of healthcare fraud and money laundering. She could serve life in prison if convicted on all counts, although federal sentencing guidelines suggest a much lower sentence.
So where did the money go? Newly released documents claim that Swims-King used the money to live a life of luxury. Cops say she purchased 20 automobiles since 2009 including a $92,000 Jaguar and other luxury cars.
Healthcare fraud is a huge problem costing American taxpayers billions of dollars a year. Why taxpayers? Because Medicare is funded with tax dollars. Healthcare fraud means higher healthcare costs, higher taxes, decreased availability of services and sometimes danger to patients who are subjected to medically unnecessary procedures.
The good news is that healthcare fraud can easily be stopped. In fact, the number one way healthcare fraud is detected is whistleblowers. Medicare has a tip line that pays informants up to $1000 for information, although whistleblowers generally are far better off pursing a false claims action. That law allows whistleblowers to get paid a percentage of whatever the government collects from the defendant. The normal whistleblower award is 20%.
To qualify as a whistleblower under the false claims act, you must have original source information about fraud or loss to a government program. This includes Medicare fraud.
If you believe you have information about healthcare or other fraud and wish to become a whistleblower, give us a call. We are passionate about what we do – stopping fraud and helping whistleblowers collect the maximum cash award. Our team of whistleblower lawyers represents people across the United States.
Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.
[Ed. Note: The indictment of Regina Swims-King is only an accusation. Like all criminal defendants, she is considered innocent until proven guilty in court.]