2 plead not guilty in alleged Miss. Medicaid fraud

Published 1:02 am Sunday, December 20, 2009

A man and wife who worked for a physical therapy company in Mississippi have pleaded not guilty to federal charges in an alleged multimillion dollar Medicaid scam.

The company, Primary Physical Medicine Inc., billed Medicaid more than $18.7 million from 2003 to 2005 and was paid more than $8 million, according court records. The company allegedly used unlicensed employees to provide physical therapy services and submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid, among other things, court records show.

It’s one of at least two pending federal cases that accuse a physical therapy company in Mississippi with defrauding the government-run health care program of millions of dollars.

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In this case, Latanicia McMillan Rogers and Wayne Rogers pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Latanicia Rogers was a registered agent and incorporator of the company, which had offices in Durant and Gautier before being dissolved, documents show. Wayne Rogers allegedly was hired as a physical therapy technician even though he didn’t have a license and was in charge of supervising other unlicensed employees.

The company was owned by Jim Davis Hull, a former attorney who was convicted in the case and two other related investigations, according to the court records. He’s serving a five-year sentence.

Latanicia Rogers’ attorney, Gregory J. Weber of Madison, had no comment when contacted Friday by The Associated Press. Wayne Rogers’ attorneys did not immediately respond to messages.

The Rogers also face Hurricane Katrina fraud charges for allegedly lying to the Small Business Administration about living in a storm-damaged home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The government is seeking more than $247,000 in restitution in that case, in which they have also pleaded not guilty.

The Medicaid case has similarities to another one pending in federal court. In October, several doctors and other associates of Statewide Physical Medicine Group Inc. were indicted.

Statewide Physical Medicine allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid for more than $39 million in services in Mississippi during the alleged conspiracy, from 2000 to 2005, according to the indictment in that case. The government agencies paid out $18 million. It’s not clear how much of that was obtained by allegedly fraudulent billing.

The government has seized more than $3.6 million from various accounts in the Statewide Physical Medicine case and prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of three properties, one each in the Texas towns of Cedar Hill and Spring, and one in Ellisville, Miss.