Wheeler Dealer Doctor Sentenced to 11 Years
A Texas physician has been sentenced to 11 years in prison and must pay $14 million in restitution for his role in a power wheelchair scam that led to the creation of Operation Wheeler Dealer, a massive crackdown on Medicare fraud and abuse.
Dr. Anat Mauskar, 73, was convicted in November on 20 counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy.
Prosecutors said that from 2001 to 2003, Mauskar submitted false claims for Medicare beneficiaries unlawfully referred to him for power wheelchairs. Several beneficiaries testified that Mauskar did not examine them and that tests were performed before they even saw the physician. Mauskar billed Medicare for more than $13 million and was paid $1.6 million in the scheme.
Prosecutors also said Mauskar signed forms falsely claiming he personally evaluated and supervised physical therapy and evaluation services.
After the fraud scheme came to light in 2003, CMS and the Office of Inspector General announced Operation Wheeler Dealer, an initiative aimed at curbing fraud and abuse of the Medicare power wheelchair benefit. The campaign included aggressive scrutiny of power wheelchair claims, particularly in the Houston area.