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Medical equipment firm and its owner agree to pay $20.3M in fraud scheme

Indian Rocks Beach businesswoman faces 13 years in prison as company agrees to $20.3 million civil settlement.

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  • | 11:50 a.m. February 17, 2021
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An Indian Rocks Beach businesswoman has plead guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and filing a false tax return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa recently announced.

Kelly L. Wolfe, 49, faces a maximum 13 years in prison for her crimes. A sentencing hearing has yet to be set.

Additionally, the company Wolfe owned and operated, Regency Inc., has agreed to pay up to $20.3 million to resolve allegations Wolfe and the company violated laws by falsifying documents to fraudulently establish medical equipment companies to bill for unnecessary equipment and for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute. Regency, according to court documents is a durable medical equipment billing and consulting company. It's based in Largo, documents show. 

The settlement is based on Wolfe and Regency’s ability to pay. A whistleblower in the case, a former Regency employee, also is entitled to up to 23% of the civil recovery a reward for exposing the crimes, according to the statement from federal prosecutors. 

Wolfe and co-conspirators used Regency to establish dozens of “front” companies with “straw owners” that used “trickery and deception” to bill over $400 million in illegal claims to Medicare and other agencies, authorities contended. Their scheme allegedly involved claims of a high volume of “telemedicine” visits and bribes to several doctors.

Wolfe also admitted that in 2017 she used Regency funds to acquire several personal items and then lied about the nature of the purchases in filing a tax return with the IRS, the release states.

The prosecution, part of the nationwide “Operation Brace Yourself” law enforcement campaign, represents detection of one of the largest health care fraud schemes in U.S. history.

In the Middle District of Florida alone, 12 defendants are facing criminal charges, says U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez, in the statement.

“When medical professionals and companies knowingly commit fraud to maximize their profits, we will hold them accountable for their unlawful conduct,” says John V. Coghlan, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, in a statement.

In addition to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the fraud was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the FBI’s Tampa Division, the IRS’ Criminal Investigation division and the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General.



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