RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Raleigh investment advisor and his co-conspirator have been found guilty after submitting more than 5,000 false Medicare claims, totaling more than $534,400, the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday morning.
Furman Alexander Ford, 52, faced a federal jury last week and was found guilty on four charges—conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
“The defendant in this case preyed upon the most vulnerable in our society – the elderly, the poor, and the disabled,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Michael Easley. “We will continue to work tirelessly to bring such offenders to justice.”
Ford and his co-conspirator Jimmy Guess pled guilty in a trial to their parts in the Medicare fraud scheme on Sept. 16, 2020.
More than 5,000 claims were submitted for mental health services that were never provided to about 145 alleged beneficiaries, court records and evidence showed.
The claims totaled approximately $534,438, the DOJ statement said.
In order to obtain these individuals’ Medicare information, the DOJ said Ford led a variety of schemes.
In one, Ford’s company offered services such as electronic conversions of health records or teletherapy counseling to assisted living homes for elderly individuals and people with disabilities.
In another, the company offered free food in exchange for the Medicare information of low-income, elderly parishioners at churches in Bladen County, according to Easley.
“It is disturbing when fraudsters exploit vulnerable Medicare enrollees and defraud federal health care programs for personal gain,” said Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
“Today’s verdict in this case shows that our agency, working with our law enforcement partners, will continue to hold bad actors accountable and protect both Medicare and those served by this program.”
Ford will face up to 52 years in prison when he is sentenced in January 2023 by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III.