Nurse indicted in $8.8M medical equipment kickback scheme

Hampton, Ga., nurse practitioner Kateline Lavache, RN, was charged for her alleged role in a scheme that defrauded Medicare of $8.8 million, the Justice Department said June 2.

Ms. Lavache, 53, allegedly prescribed medically unnecessary durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs that are used in-home, the department said. She allegedly submitted the prescriptions in exchange for kickbacks and bribes from co-conspirators, and without conducting proper consultations with beneficiaries.

She allegedly had no prior relationship with the beneficiaries, was not treating them, and did not conduct telemedicine consultations with them, the department said. Ms. Lavache was allegedly paid more than $123,000 in kickbacks and bribes.

She is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare and wire fraud and four counts of healthcare fraud, the department said. The conspiracy count carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence, and each fraud count carries a 10-year maximum.

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