Judge Harold L. Murphy found Houser guilty of 11 charges — one count of health care fraud, eight counts of willful failure to pay payroll taxes and two counts of failure to file income tax returns.
A sentencing date for Houser’s wife, Rhonda Houser, who pleaded guilty last year to health care fraud, has not been set.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the health care fraud conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of as man as 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000; the charges of willful failure to pay payroll taxes to the IRS each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000 per count; and the charges of failure to file tax return carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $25,000.
Medicare and Medicaid paid Houser more than $32.9 million during that time for food, medical care and other services for nursing home residents that he either did not provide or that were so deficient that they were worthless, according to the news release.
This is the first time that a defendant has been convicted after a trial in federal court for submitting claims for payment for worthless services.
“It almost defies the imagination to believe that someone would use millions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid money to buy real estate for hotels and a house while his elderly and defenseless nursing home residents went hungry and lived in filth and mold,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “We will continue to aggressively protect our most vulnerable citizens and hold accountable those who prey on the elderly and steal precious health care dollars.”
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Health and Human Services Inspector General, and IRS Criminal Investigation.