“1-800-CALL FBI” messages were given to the workers as FBI agents and other agencies instructed them to gather their personal belongs and leave everything else as it was.
With the power of a search warrant, agents and officers from the FBI, the Texas Medicaid Fraud Division (CMF) and state troopers entered the Scooter Store buildings just after 9 a.m.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and his Medicaid Fraud team have earned a first-rate national reputation for their crackdowns on health fraud and this raid is one of a long list of investigations they are pursuing.
In the last ten years, they have recovered over $400 million for Texas and total recoveries for the state and the federal governments now exceed $1 billion.
Jointly funded by the State and the federal government, fraudulent overpayments recovered by the Attorney General’s Office are shared with the federal treasury.
In 2012, the $137 million CMF recovered for the State was 23 times the cost of operating the division.
Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit handles criminal investigations on the basis of referrals from state agencies like the Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General.
In January, the Scooter Store was ordered to by court to pay $20 million for overages in Medicare payments.
While some workers were detained for questioning, others marched out to their cars and were handed the papers slips with the 1-800 number to call the FBI.
Soon, more agents entered the main corporate building carrying equipment and boxes marked FBI.
Recently the Scooter Store indicated they had reduced their distribution and sales force by 150 people.
"The SCOOTER Store is America's number one provider of power chairs and scooters for one simple reason - we make it easier for you to use your Medicare benefit to help you get the mobility you need," indicates their website. "Medicare could cover 80% of the cost of your power chair or scooter. And if you have supplemental insurance, it may cover the remaining 20%. That means the mobility you need could cost you little to nothing!"