The Scooter Store: Will an indictment be next?

Friday, February 22, 2013

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Federal and state officials, as well as The Scooter Store, are keeping a tight lid on the details of a raid at the company’s corporate headquarters.

The FBI joined the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Texas Attorney General’s Office to execute a search warrant at 9 a.m. Feb. 20 as part of an ongoing probe into possible Medicare fraud. The agencies left the premises at 2 p.m. Feb. 21.

“We were all present conducting a regular and usual investigative activity at that location, the details of which I can’t discuss further,” said FBI Spokesman Erik Vasys.

When contacted for comment, Sun Capital Partners, a large investor in The Scooter Store, declined to comment and referred HME News to The Scooter Store's attorney, who couldn't be reached at press time.

Local news sources reported officials searched The Scooter Store’s main offices, as well as a building that houses IT servers and billing information. The search does not automatically mean The Scooter Store has done anything wrong, says healthcare attorney Edward Vishnevetsky.

“Right now, it’s a search warrant that allows them to search for documents and go into their facility,” said Vishnevetsky, an associate at Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr in Dallas. “We won’t know the allegations unless there is an indictment.”

However, in the past, similar raids have often had serious consequences, Vishnevetsky said.

“In my previous experience, when the FBI does come in, an indictment might be forthcoming,” he said.

The raid is symptomatic of a larger problem for the HME industry, says Vishnevetsky. Citing difficulties for providers like Pacific Pulmonary in California and Liberty Medical Supply in Florida, he says Medicare is cracking down on providers of all sizes.

“No one is safe,” he said. “Given that smaller providers are being squeezed out due to competitive bidding and rates, and these larger providers are being squeezed out due to post-payment audits, soon there will be no companies able to provide equipment.”