4

Sandra Thurman Patino: Motorized Wheelchair Scam FAIL, Loses $1M & A Cadillac To Feds

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Sandra Thurman Patino, 46, had a pretty good deal going with a Medicare scam involving motorized wheelchairs, but now she's headed to federal prison for four years.

Plus she's giving up the $1.1 million she had in the bank, and a Cadillac, to the feds.

Patino was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes for her part in the con, in which she and two others got a doctor to prescribe motorized wheelchairs to people who didn't really need them. Not only that, but Patino equipment that was far cheaper than what she billed the feds for.

We can only hope she didn't provide the dreaded "four-volt" model:


Others who took part in the scheme have already been sentenced and are serving their terms. Says the U.S. Attorney's office:

Patino, Katrice Oliver, and Anthony Thurman, both 29, were involved in operating two Houston durable medical equipment companies, Thurman Family Medical Services and Seniors Comfort & Caring Medical Services. Between 2002 through 2003, they fraudulently billed Medicare for durable medical equipment, primarily for motorized wheelchairs and related accessories, but delivered less expensive scooters. In all, the two companies billed Medicare approximately $3.9 million and were paid approximately $2.6 million. More than 99 percent of the two companies' claims involved motorized wheelchairs and related accessories.

Most of the fraudulent claims billed upon by the two companies involved prescriptions sold to Patino by Dr. Lewis Gottlieb. Patino sold wheelchair prescriptions to other durable medical equipment companies, besides the two she helped run. Gottlieb has pleaded guilty to receiving kickbacks for signing prescriptions for patients who did not meet the medical necessity requirements to receive motorized wheelchair, and is currently serving a lengthy prison term.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.