Friday, September 27, 2013

Home Health Provider Under Investigation for Alleged Medicare Fraud

A local home healthcare provider that reportedly employs hundreds of people was subject to an FBI investigation Wednesday morning.

The investigation focused on Legacy Home Healthcare for alleged Medicare fraud. The company has been in business in South Texas since 1997, providing home healthcare, hospice and adult daycare.

The home health provider has eight branch offices, from the Rio Grande Valley to San Antonio. Its main offices are located in Corpus Christi, and that is where the FBI served its search warrant.

"This is a joint investigation with the FBI, the Medicare Fraud Control unit, and Health and Human Services," FBI Special Agent Greg Brown said. "That's all we're able to tell you at this time."

Brown was limited in what he could tell 3News because it is a sealed case for now, he explained. He did, however, make it clear that agents, estimated to be about 20 of them, were inside the building.

The subject of the search warrant included employee laptop and desktop computers. All employees were asked to provide agents with their passwords.

While Legacy Home Healthcare officials refused to comment, some people at the scene who said they have had dealings with the company had much to say.

"I just came in this morning and they had federal agents just coming in, closing the place down. Had to have escorts to go upstairs, downstairs to get a car," said Kevin, and employee of Legacy Home Healthcare. "Not sure, it's just, we have, we've been told certain things we're not really free to divulge. They're just investigating, you know. Probably something to do with Medicare. Probably much to do about nothing, so."

"I've been with the company for like, maybe a year and a half, two years, and they have messed up with my checks," employee Stephanie Knockless said. "Like, they would take forever, like three times; and my son, too. They did it like that when he worked with them."

According to a former employee who did not want to be identified, there were issues with Medicare billing. That employee said that it wasn't being done appropriately or as required by the government.

Medicare is a government program that provides health care coverage to people who are over 65 or who are disabled. The program has come under siege by criminals who recognize the multiple methods of defrauding the system.

By government estimates, Medicare fraud costs taxpayers more than $60 billion a year. If convicted of that crime, defendants could pay up to half a million dollars in fines, and even be sentenced to prison time.

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