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Crime Blog: Woman gets 4 years in prison over Houston wheelchair fraud

by Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on July 13, 2010 at 2:59 PM

HOUSTON -- A woman who operated two Houston companies must serve four years in prison over what prosecutors say was a $3.9 million motorized wheelchair scam.

Prosecutors say 46-year-old Sandra Thurman Patino surrendered Tuesday, as ordered by the court.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes on Monday sentenced Patino and barred her, during three years of supervised release following her prison term, from seeking employment with any company that bills Medicare or Medicaid.

Investigators say fraudulent billing involving durable medical equipment, mainly motorized wheelchairs and accessories, ordered between 2002 and 2003 at a certain price, but less expensive equipment was delivered.

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