Ken Paxton

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

San Antonio Man Sentenced To 33 Months In Prison In Wheelchair Scheme

SAN ANTONIO - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit joined federal prosecutors Monday for the sentencing of a local businessman found guilty in December of scheming against Medicare and Medicaid by fraudulently billing for expensive wheelchairs and other equipment.

Jason Guillen, the 30-year-old co-owner of New Beginnings Durable Medical Equipment, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He will pay restitution of $260,464 to Medicare and $26,000 to Medicaid, which reflect actual reimbursements to his business from the government.

I am pleased that justice was delivered in this case in which the defendant ripped off taxpayer-funded programs that are intended for seniors and those deserving care among us, said Attorney General Abbott. My office will make every effort in these cases to convince the court that the punishment must fit the crime.

Guillen was convicted on six counts of health care fraud in December following a four-day federal trial. His wife, Roxanne Guillen, pleaded guilty to similar charges in August and she awaits sentencing next month. Both were indicted in April 2005 for filing more than 60 false claims for reimbursement from the taxpayer-funded health programs.

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 and Assistant Attorney General/Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Audrey Louis.