orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

December 14, 2013

Physician and office manager charged with health care fraud

BEAUMONT — A former Beaumont physician and office manager have been charged with health care fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.

John Q. A. Webb, Jr., 74, of Houston, and Kari Mannino, 30, of Woodville, were indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 5, and charged in a 43-count indictment with health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, distribution of controlled substances, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

According to the indictment, Webb and Mannino are alleged to have executed various schemes in order to defraud Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna.

Since 2007, Webb owned operated and managed Beaumont Medical Clinic on Eastex Freeway in Beaumont. From about January 2008 through December 2011, Webb and his office manager, Mannino, are alleged to have instructed unlicensed individuals to treat patients and then bill health care providers as if Webb had personally provided the services. Webb and Mannino are also alleged to have conspired with each other to distribute Suboxone, a Schedule III controlled substance, by prescribing the drug not in the usual course of professional practice.

To execute the scheme, Webb would allow unlicensed staff to prescribe controlled substances to patients when he was not on the premises and allowed Mannino to distribute the controlled substances directly to patients. It is further alleged that Webb and Mannino failed to conduct adequate or any physical examinations of the individuals in order to diagnose and treat patients.

The indictment alleges that Webb and Mannino caused health care benefit programs to be billed in excess of $3,623,749.84, and Webb was paid in excess of $1,106,862.00.

Webb appeared in federal court in Houston on Dec. 11 for an initial appearance. Mannino appeared in Beaumont on Dec. 11 for an initial appearance. Both were released on bond.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison for each charge.

This case is being investigated by the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Levacy Cockrell.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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