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HOUSTON (April 23, 2014) – Yolanda Nowlin, 42, has been ordered to federal prison for 11 years following her multiple convictions in relation to a large health care fraud conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. A federal jury in Houston convicted Nowlin Sept. 4, 2013, following seven days of trial and less than three hours of deliberations.
At the sentencing hearing late yesterday, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake handed Nowlin a total sentence of 132 months in federal prison - 120 months for conspiracy to commit health care fraud to be served consecutively to a 12-month sentence for health care fraud, conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute and Social Security fraud. She was further ordered to pay $744,105 in restitution to Medicare and Medicaid and $106,492.10 to the Social Security Administration. In handing down the sentence, Judge Lake noted the fraud occurred over several years, harming beneficiaries, the public and the Medicare and Medicaid systems. Nowlin will also be required to serve three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
Nowlin, of Bryan, ran two durable medical equipment companies - Yellabone Medic Care Express Equipment Supply Company and Yellabone Medical Equipment Inc. Nowlin was arrested in December 2012 along with co-defendant Carla Parnell, 51, also from Bryan. Parnell pleaded guilty earlier this year to Social Security fraud and testified against Nowlin at the jury trial. Parnell is scheduled to be sentenced May 15, 2014.
The evidence at trial showed that between July 2003 and December 2009, Nowlin engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. Nowlin submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for durable medical equipment (DME) and incontinence supplies that were not delivered, not wanted and not needed by Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries and were often the result of illegal kickbacks. During the alleged conspiracy, Nowlin submitted approximately $3,391,771.90 in claims to Medicare and Medicaid and received $1,108,316.82 for those claims. A total of $744,105 was identified as fraudulently paid.
The evidence at trial also showed that Nowlin paid kickbacks to a large number of recruiters over the course of the scheme in return for the referral of beneficiaries to Yellabone.
Nowlin was additionally convicted of aiding and abetting the theft of government money from the Social Security administration. Nowlin and Parnell concealed Parnell’s employment with Yellabone in order to continue Parnell’s receiving Social Security disability benefits to which she was not entitled.
Previously released on bond, Nowlin was taken into custody following the sentencing today where she will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case was the result of a joint investigation conducted by agents from Texas Attorney General’s Office – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations. Special Assistant United States Attorneys Adrienne E. Frazior and Suzanne Bradley prosecuted the case.