Thursday, September 20, 2007
OWNER OF TWO CONNECTICUT HEARING AID STORES PLEADS GUILTY TO HEALTH CARE FRAUD. As health care fraud raises the cost of everyone’s coverage too.
Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WALTER ROCHEFORT, 51, of 15 Mallard Drive, Avon, Connecticut, waived indictment and pleaded guilty today before Senior United States District Judge Peter C. Dorsey in New Haven to one count of health care fraud.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, from September 5, 2001 through August 11, 2006, ROCHEFORT owned and operated Hear True Hearing Center, located at 461 North Main Street in Bristol, Connecticut, and at 7 Whiting Street in Plainfield, Connecticut. During this time, ROCHEFORT submitted claims for hearing aids and hearing aid services provided to current or former employees of General Motors/Delphi or current or former employees of the United Auto Workers, who were insured under health insurance plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare. The claims falsely documented that medical procedures necessary for the hearing aids to be covered under the plans had been properly rendered by qualified medical personnel, when in fact, ROCHEFORT falsified the documentation.
“As health care fraud raises the cost of everyone’s coverage, we will vigorously investigate and prosecute individuals involved in this type of criminal activity,” U.S. Attorney O’Connor stated.
Judge Dorsey has scheduled ROCHEFORT’s sentencing for December 5, 2007, at which time ROCHEFORT faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
ROCHEFORT is also currently facing state criminal charges.
This investigation was conducted by agents from the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Health Care Fraud Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Sheldon.
U.S. Attorney O’Connor encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force at (203) 785-9270 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.