Oklahoman Sentenced for Fraud

The owner of a Tulsa, Okla., medical equipment company was recently ordered to pay more than $348,000 in restitution for fraud charges, according to state Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Janet K. Merrifield, 54, will serve five months imprisonment followed by five months of home detention and three years of supervised release after being charged Oct. 5, 2004, with one count each of health care fraud and causing a criminal act. He pled guilty Nov. 30, 2004, in Northern District Court in Tulsa, the AG’s announcement said.

Merrifield, the owner and operator of Mid-States Medical, was accused of forging Certificate of Medical Necessity forms by signing doctors’ names in order to receive up to $5,000 in Medicaid reimbursement for electronic wheelchairs. Then, instead of delivering the wheelchairs to her customers, Merrifield provided scooters valued at $1,500.

“Medicaid and Medicare provide necessary equipment for those who may not otherwise be able to get the help they need,” Edmondson said. “Janet Merrifield forged doctors’ signatures in an effort to profit from those consumers and the system as a whole.”

Merrifield was charged after a joint investigation by the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Oklahoma Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the FBI.

Edmondson’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has statewide jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute provider fraud and patient abuse and neglect in any Medicaid provider facility. Anyone with information regarding provider fraud or patient abuse can contact the Attorney General’s Office at (405) 521-4274 or (918) 581-2885.