Patient Recruiter Sentenced to Over 7 Years in Prison for $4.5 Million Motorized Wheelchair Fraud

Robin Renee Haigler, a former customer recruiter in the Waco, Texas area, was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison on November 7, 2016 for her role in a $4.5 million health care fraud scheme.  Haigler, who worked for DTS Medical Supply Company in Devine, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in August 2015.

Evidence presented at her co-defendants’ trial showed that Haigler — along with co-defendant Daniel Thomason Smith who was the owner of DTS Medical Supply Company and DTS office manager Kathleen Marina Kelly-Tourila — conspired to submit false reimbursement claims to Medicaid and Medicare for motorized wheelchairs and scooters.  Evidence showed the conspirators submitted reimbursement claims to Medicaid and Medicare for higher-reimbursement powered wheelchairs when in fact they were delivering less-expensive powered scooters to customers.

Fraudulently up-charging Medicare and Medicaid for higher reimbursement wheelchairs resulted in larger profits to DTS at the expense of the taxpayers.  On June 28, 2016, a jury convicted Haigler’s co-defendants on multiple federal charges in connection with the same scheme.  Haigler’s co-defendants remain in federal custody and await sentencing which is scheduled for November 18, 2016, in San Antonio.

Haigler was also ordered to pay joint and several restitution in the amount of $3,269,300.11 to the federal government and will be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing her 87 month prison term.

The cases against Haigler and her co-conspirators are criminal cases.  However, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, whistleblowers with information about similar fraud against the government may bring a civil case on behalf of the United States. If successful, the government can recover three times the amount the defendants fraudulently billed the government and monetary penalties for each false claim submitted.  The whistleblower, who originally filed the case, is entitled to 15-30% of the government’s recovery as well as their attorney’s fees.