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Feds allege wheelchair store defrauded government

The U.S. Dept. of Justice has filed a suit against a Texas company, alleging it violated the False Claims Act by steering customers toward power wheelchairs, rather than less expensive scooters.

The suit, filed in San Antonio federal court, claims the Scooter Store engaged in a marketing campaign targeting Medicare beneficiaries. The company assured them Medicaire would pay for the scooters but then told potential customers that Medicare would only pay for a much more expensive power wheelchair or that a physician would not approve the order for a motorized scooter.

The suit does not specify damages, but the Scooter Store has billed Medicare for more than $400 million since 1997.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the suit on April 30, 2005.

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