HOUSTON—A Houston businessman has entered a guilty plea to engaging in a conspiracy to defraud Medicare of more than $6.6 million, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
At a hearing held today before U.S. District Kenneth Ellison, Robert Manning, 60, admitted he participated in a three-year conspiracy to defraud Medicare by paying kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries whose Medicare information was then used to file fraudulent claims with Medicare.
During his plea, Manning admitted that beginning in 2008 he was introduced to a Houston medical clinic manager who agreed to pay Manning per head for Medicare beneficiaries brought to the clinic. Manning, in turn, would pay the marketers who brought the beneficiaries, keeping a small portion as his fee. Manning admitted he was paid $125 per Medicare beneficiary allegedly treated at the clinic which was paid on a weekly basis. Manning paid the marketers $100 in cash per beneficiary and kept the remaining $25. On some occasions, Manning would deal directly with a Medicare beneficiary. In those instances, he would pay the beneficiary $100 in cash and again keep the remaining $25. Manning admitted he knew the Medicare billing was fraudulent because he knew that the reason “patients” were going to the clinic was because they were being paid to do so, and not because they needed a specific medical treatment.
According to the factual basis in support of the plea, the clinic billed Medicare $6.6 million for the diagnostic testing allegedly done and was paid $2.9 million.
Judge Ellison has set sentencing for Feb. 16, 2016, at which time Manning faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a possible $500,000 fine. As part of his plea, Manning has also agreed to pay restitution of $2.9 million to Medicare. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The criminal charges are the result of a joint investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s Office—Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, IRS—Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Al Balboni and Adrienne Frazior are prosecuting the case.