Ken Paxton

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Attorney General Abbott Obtains Conviction In Wheelchair Scheme Affecting Medicare And Medicaid

SAN ANTONIO - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and federal prosecutors have obtained a guilty verdict against a local businessman accused of scheming against Medicare and Medicaid programs by fraudulently billing for expensive wheelchairs and other equipment.

Jason Guillen, the 30-year-old co-owner of New Beginnings Durable Medical Equipment, was convicted on six counts of health care fraud on Friday in federal court. His sentencing is set for Feb. 24. His wife and co-owner, Roxanne Guillen, pleaded guilty to similar charges in August. Both were indicted in April 2005 for filing more than 60 false claims for reimbursement.

I am pleased the jury convicted this man for ripping off taxpayer-funded programs that are intended for seniors and the needy among us, said Attorney General Abbott. My office will make every effort in these cases to convince jurors that the punishment must fit the crime.

The Guillens ran the illegal billing scheme from December 2001 until June 2004. They unlawfully billed Medicare nearly $500,000 and Medicaid $60,000 for powered wheelchairs, gel mattress pads, and alternating pressure mattresses that were not prescribed by physicians or delivered to patients. They accomplished this by using patient information Roxane Guillen secretly obtained from a medical equipment company with which she was formerly employed, and she also paid an employee of a physician to provide other patient information which she used to bill for reimbursement.

In his trial, Jason Guillen claimed his innocence, alleging his wife concocted the schemes without his knowledge. The jury disagreed, finding him guilty on all six counts for which he was indicted.

Agents with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General also worked this case. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Harris.