Two Dallas-Area Residents Charged in Nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown

September 8, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on September 7, 2011 released the following:

“DALLAS—A Dallas-area doctor appeared in federal court today on charges related to his alleged participation in a scheme to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS). His physician’s assistant, who joined the scheme at a later date, appeared in federal court with the doctor.

These charges are part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations that led to charges against 70 defendants for their alleged participation in schemes to collectively submit more than $263.6 million in false billings to the Medicare program. As part of takedown operations last week, 18 additional defendants were charged in Detroit and one defendant was charged in Miami, in cases unsealed on Sept. 1, 2011, for their alleged roles involving Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $29.4 million in fraudulent claims. This coordinated takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in Strike Force history.

“The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare—jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system and our nation’s most critical health care program for personal gain,” said Attorney General Holder. “Our highly coordinated, nationwide Strike Force operations are working aggressively to combat Medicare fraud and our anti-health care fraud efforts have never been more innovative, collaborative, aggressive—or effective. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and partners across government to fight against health care fraud.”

U.S. Attorney Jacks said, “The Dallas Strike Force continues to aggressively root out and prosecute those involved in committing heath care fraud, which costs taxpayers, patients and private insurers millions of dollars each year. Health care fraud has infiltrated every layer of the health care industry, and in this case, as in many, a physician is allegedly at the core of the scheme. Health care providers should take heed—these strike forces mean business and are committed to prosecuting those who cheat the system.”

Physician Daniel K. Leong, 53, and his physician’s assistant, Cal Graves, 31, are charged in a seven-count indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud for their roles in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme involving prescription drugs and diagnostic testing at their practice in the South Dallas Community Medical Center, on Martin Luther King Blvd.

Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine districts have obtained indictments of more than 1,140 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

The results of the nationwide takedown were announced today by Attorney General Holder, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). The Dallas indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Casey, Jr. of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS-OIG, Office of Investigations; and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU).

An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Leong and Graves are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition, Leong is charged with six substantive counts of health care fraud and Graves is charged with four substantive counts of health care fraud. If convicted, each count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, restitution could be ordered.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McCarthy.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Kenneth Wayne Brown, Duane Milford Stailey, and Sharon Ware Stailey are Indicted by a Dallas Federal Grand Jury and Are Each Charged Conspiracy to Commit Theft From a Program Receiving Federal Funds

August 25, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Texas on August 24, 2011 released the following:

“FEDERAL GRAND JURY INDICTS ADDITIONAL DEFENDANTS FOR ROLE IN CONSPIRACY TO EMBEZZLE FROM CITY OF GARLAND, TEXAS

Former City of Garland Employee, Patricia Leathers, is Currently Serving a 57-Month Prison Sentence for Her Role in the Conspiracy

DALLAS — A federal grand jury in Dallas has indicted three defendants for their role in a conspiracy to embezzle from the City of Garland, Texas, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Kenneth Wayne Brown, 50, of Denison, Texas; Duane Milford Stailey, 44, and his wife, Sharon Ware Stailey, 45, both of Leonard, Texas, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit theft from a program receiving federal funds.

Patricia Leathers, 63, of Rowlett, Texas, a former risk management adjustor for the City of Garland, pleaded guilty in December 2010 to the same offense. She is presently serving a 57-month sentence at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. Leathers was also ordered to pay $1,968,479 in restitution to the City of Garland. Leathers’ sister, Connie M. Powell, 60, of Garland, also pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy. She was sentenced to a three-year term of probation and ordered to pay $64,142 in restitution.

The indictment alleges that from August 1999 through March 2008, the three defendants conspired with each other and others to embezzle from the City of Garland by creating false claims for damage and repairs to personal and real property. The reimbursement checks, issued in the true names of the defendants, as well as fictitious names, were cashed by the defendants who then shared the proceeds with Leathers.

According to the indictment, Brown endorsed and negotiated at least 14 City of Garland checks, totaling more than $102,000. In addition, Duane and Sharon Stailey fraudulently negotiated and shared in the proceeds of City of Garland checks totaling at least $482,000 of which they deposited more than $129,000 into their joint bank account.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, each face a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could be ordered.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Garland Police Department, and the Garland Offices of the City Attorney and Internal Auditor. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Miller is prosecuting the case.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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North Texas Man Plead Guilty To Drug Distribution Conspiracy

April 21, 2010

Edgar Gomez-Huerta has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. His sentencing is set for September 8, 2010.

Gomez-Huerta was arrested nearly six month ago as part of a DEA-led operation targeting approximately 84 individuals accused of being associated with Mexico’s La Familia cartel. These individuals were arrested on charges outlined in 10 federal indictments and several criminal complaints.

As part of the operation, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at various locations throughout North Texas that resulted in the seizure of more than 1000 pounds of methamphetamine, 4.5 kilograms of cocaine, $660,000 in cash, 50 firearms, 53 vehicles, one boat, two all terrain vehicles, one camper, and two real properties. This was in addition to more than 650 pounds of methamphetamine, 135 kilograms of cocaine, more than 100 firearms, more than $2.4 million in U.S. currency, and more than $1 million in other assets already seized from members and customers of these organizations throughout the area.

Evidence presented during Gomez-Huerta’s detention hearing revealed that he acted as a Dallas-based cell leader and that he received shipments of methamphetamine on a monthly basis from upper level members of the “La Familia Michoacán” drug trafficking cartel. Moreover, according to plea documents filed in the case a methamphetamine and cocaine supply source began to import into the United States multi-kilogram shipments of methamphetamine and cocaine through border checkpoints near Laredo, Texas. Couriers hired by the suppliers delivered the drugs to Gomez-Huerta who then maintained care, custody and control of the drugs at various “stash” houses in the area prior to their sale. Gomez-Huerta also admitted to obtaining thousands of dollars in proceeds from the sale of drug, a well as, relying on co-conspirators to transport the cash to his supply source in Mexico.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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