A federal jury convicted Dallas area owners and operators of two durable medical equipment companies Thursday of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive health care kickbacks and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Leah Hagen, 49, and Michael Hagen, 54, of Arlington, Texas, were owners and operators of two durable medical equipment (DME) companies: Metro DME Supply LLC (Metro) and Ortho Pain Solutions LLC (Ortho Pain), both operated out of the same location in Arlington. The defendants paid a fixed rate per DME item in exchange for prescriptions and paperwork completed by telemedicine doctors that were used to submit false claims to Medicare. The defendants paid illegal bribes and kickbacks and wired money to their co-conspirator’s call center in the Philippines that provided signed doctor’s orders for orthotic braces. The evidence at trial showed emails exchanged between Leah and Michael Hagen and their co-conspirators showing a per-product pricing structure for orthotic braces but disguising their agreement as one for marketing and other services.
Through this scheme, the defendants billed Medicare Parts B and C approximately $59 million and were paid approximately $27 million. The defendants wired millions of proceeds into their personal bank accounts, both in the U.S. and overseas. At sentencing, the Hagens each face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah of the Northern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Miranda Bennett of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Region, and Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office made the announcement.
This case was investigated by HHS-OIG and the FBI and was brought as part of Operation Brace Yourself, a federal law enforcement action led by the Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Districts of South Carolina, New Jersey, and the Middle District of Florida.
Assistant Deputy Chief Adrienne Frazior and Trial Attorneys Brynn Schiess and Catherine Wagner of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Health Care Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.