A physician faces up to 10 years in prison for falsifying plans of care for Medicare beneficiaries.  Dr. Ben Harris Echols was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of false statements relating to health care matters.    

According to the government’s evidence at trial, the doctor signed plans of care for Medicare beneficiaries that contained false information.  The false care plans allowed two home health care companies, Family Healthcare Group Inc. and Houston Compassionate Care, to bill Medicare for services that were not medically necessary and in some cases were never actually provided.

The two home health care companies received $17.3 million from Medicare, including $5.5 million for beneficiaries for whom Dr. Echols signed a plan of care.

The evidence included testimony of other doctors who were the treating physicians of the patients.  These doctors testified that the patients did not need the care that had been billed to Medicare based on the plans.  Two Medicare beneficiaries also testified that they had never seen Dr. Echols, that they had different primary care physicians, and they did not want or need home health care.

The conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Each of the false statements counts carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime, then you should consult with an experienced Medicare fraud attorney immediately to protect your rights.  You should also consult an experienced lawyer if your employer has asked you to sign false medical records.  You may be able to avoid prosecution and even earn a reward for helping the government stop the fraud.

Get an experienced Medicare fraud lawyer on your side.  To schedule a free and confidential consultation by telephone or in person, call my office today at (917) 652-6504 or click here to communicate with me via email.

John Howley, Esq.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.  I invite you to contact our law offices and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail.  Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.  I practice law and offer legal services only in jurisdictions where I am properly authorized to do so.  I do not seek to represent anyone in any jurisdiction where this web site does not comply with applicable laws and bar rules.


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