Patrick Ita: The Genius Who Combined Medicare and Katrina Fraud

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In the Southern District of Texas, U.S. Attorneys often deal with two kinds of fraud: scams involving a) Medicare, or b) Hurricanes Katrina or Rita.

It takes a special genius to combine the two, and apparently Patrick Ita is that man.

Prosecutors unsealed indictments today alleging Ita, 55, scammed the government out of $5 million by claiming to have provided motorized wheelchairs to victims of Katrina and Rita.

He was arrested on New Year's Day at Bush Intercontinental after arriving from Amsterdam.

Just as some dude name Reese saw the magic in combining chocolate and peanut butter, Ita, the feds say, had the inspiration to bring together two disparate fraud trends.

Ita, they say, used what is called a "CR Modifier" in his Medicare paperwork

The CR Modifier was supposed to be used by a [medical-equipment] supplier when that supplier had provided a replacement piece of equipment, like a power wheelchair, that had been severely damaged or destroyed by either Hurricane Katrina or Rita.

Instead, the indictment alleges, Ita used the CR Modifier for hundreds of fraudulent power wheelchair claims where the CR Modifier did not apply because the beneficiary either: a) did not possess a power wheelchair prior to either Hurricane Katrina or Rita; or b) did not suffer significant damage to, or destruction of, his/her power wheelchair from either Hurricane Katrina or Rita; or c) never received a power wheelchair from the defendant after either Hurricane Katrina or Rita

Ita was indicted on conspiracy and fraud charges.

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