Columbus woman sentenced for defrauding the federal government

Columbus woman sentenced for defrauding the federal government

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus woman has been sentenced by the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia for defrauding the U.S. government in a medical equipment billing scheme.

Christie Morgan, a.k.a. Christie Hutto, and her former husband operated a medical equipment company called Hutto Limb and Brace, LLC (HLB) in LaGrange.

HLB specialized in creating custom orthotic and prosthetic limbs and joints, as well as custom fitted shoes and inserts.

Many patients received Medicare and Georgia Medicaid. In order to qualify for payments from those programs, the services must have been performed under the direct supervision of a licensed orthotist or prosthetist.

Morgan's former husband was the only licensed orthotist/prosthetist. He left the business in Apr. 2012 and Morgan continued operating the business through Nov. 2012 without a licensed orthotist/prosthetist.

Morgan continued submitting bills to Medicare and Medicaid claiming otherwise, wrongfully claiming $172,000, but only receiving half that amount.

"One of the two top priorities of this United States Attorney's Office is the reduction of waste and fraud against the government.  It doesn't matter whether the defendant is a multi-national corporation embezzling millions or a one person shop falsely billing for much smaller sums, such as in this case, all will be prosecuted fully in the Middle District of Georgia," said United States Attorney Peeler.

Morgan was sentenced to pay $86,000 restitution and serve three years of probation.

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