Texas Doctor Sentenced For Role In $20 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON (March 15, 2013)--A federal judge Friday Houston physician Ben Harris Echols, 63, to more than five years in prison for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme that pulled in more than $20 million from false claims.

Authorities say Echols also was ordered Friday to pay $2.9 mllion in restitution.

He was convicted in December on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of false statements relating to health care matters.

Echols approved plans for medical care so that fraudulent claims could be billed by two home health care companies and also signed treatment plans for Medicare beneficiaries not under his care, authorities said.

He conspired with the health care companies for payouts of $17.3 million, and with other beneficiaries for additional claims of $5.5 million, authorities said.

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