HME swindled patients, state alledges

Sunday, October 31, 2004

BALTIMORE - A three-year battle between the Maryland attorney general’s office and a phony home medical equipment dealer continued in September before the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The state is arguing for the reversal of a previous appeal that ruled it could not require the business owner to take out a surety bond. The state had originally required the bond to protect people with future complaints against Allied Home Healthcare, according to an official connected with the case.

In the original case, dating back to March 2001, the state charged Allied’s owner, Paris George, with violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act. He was ordered to pay a $75,000 penalty and $32,000 in restitution, along with the bond, for failure to deliver medical equipment, including wheelchairs and scooters, that the company had billed consumers for.

A circuit court ruling later upheld the fines but overturned the bond. Since then, 32 more people have filed complaints. In total, nearly 80 people claim to have been cheated by George, according to the attorney general’s office.

“There’s evidence he continued to do the same kinds of acts after we got our order,” said Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran in a statement to local media.

George has allegedly continued to swindle customers by not giving refunds for equipment he never delivers, said the official. He operates under several company names, including Allied, Access Medical Equipment and Triple-A Accessibility Equipment and also runs similar operations offering architecture and home improvement services.

The state hopes that a reinstatement of the surety bond will prevent further problems or, if the bond runs out, will give the state grounds to file further charges. The attorney general has also turned over parts of its investigation to “criminal authorities,” said the official.