Feds wrap up 27 bad guys

Friday, April 30, 2004

WASHINGTON - Since the Wheeler Dealer scandal erupted in Houston last September, at least 27 individuals have been convicted or reached plea agreements with prosecutors, according to a cursory OIG survey requested by HME News.

The 27 convictions or plea agreements do not represent the number of scandals since most wheeler dealers worked in clusters. (For example, one South Florida case involved six individuals.) Nor does the number include arrests or indictments of individuals who cases are now being prosecuted.

The ranks of those convicted are filled primarily by DME dealers, according to an OIG spokesperson.

The most recent conviction was announced April 1 after a psychiatrist, Lewis Gottlieb, pleaded guilty to a scheme that bilked Medicare of $16 million. Gottlieb admitted to signing hundreds of CMNs submitted to him by wheeler dealers for $200 each. He faces 10 years in federal prison for the health care fraud conviction.