United States Attorney Michael Shelby announced that Monet Selders, 36, the operator of three Houston area physical therapy clinics, who cooperated extensively with the government’s investigation and prompted the prosecution of a number of others, was sentenced this month to a 42-month term of probation for her role in committing health care fraud and paying kickbacks for patient referrals.
Selders, who was convicted in March of last year, was also ordered by United States District Judge Lynn Hughes to pay $964,239 in restitution to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, the court ordered that the defendant not apply for enrollment as a provider in any Medicare or Medicaid health care benefit program.
Selders’ conviction is the result of a joint investigation conducted by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which uncovered the existence of an elaborate scheme to defraud Medicare of millions of dollars.
Between March and September 1999, Selders and co-defendant, Tamara Fitzgerald, reportedly perpetrated a scheme involving two physical therapy clinics, Infinity Health and Medical Group [“Infinity”] and Medical Management Services [“MMS”], through which they fraudulently billed Medicare more than $2.6 million of which they received approximately $894,288 in payments. After Infinity and MMS were closed, Selders operated another clinic, Care Group 2000 and received more than $69,000 in payments.
The fraudulent scheme involved billing Medicare for physical therapy evaluations that were not performed by a physician; services that were not performed and services that were performed by unlicenced technicians in the patient’s home without the necessary supervision of a physician. MMS operated at times out of the same office suite as Infinity and claims were submitted falsely indicating technicians employed by MMS had provided services to Medicare beneficiaries. In actuality, MMS did not employ any technicians.
The scheme also reportedly involved hiring a foreign medical student not a licensed physician to perform evaluations of patients and then bill Medicare for evaluations performed by a licensed physician. Although the defendant did hire licensed physicians to serve as medical directors for the clinic, the physicians reportedly did not perform evaluations of the patients nor supervise any physical therapy services provided to medicare beneficiaries.
In addition to the fraudulent billing scheme, Selders also reportedly paid a 10 percent kickback of the billed amount collected from Medicare to individuals who referred patients to the clinic.
Selders’ sentence includes the court’s consideration of her cooperation with the government’s investigation of others involved in the operation of physical therapy clinics that submitted fraudulent claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Selders will also be called upon to testify as a government witness at the trial of Dr. Anant Mauskar and five others charged with health care fraud. That trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 21, 2005.
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