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Miss. Medicare fraud sentences 10 years each

HATTIESBURG — The owners of a defunct Mississippi clinic accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid out of millions of dollars have each been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Theddis Marcel Pearson and Telandra Gail Jones were sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg. They were also ordered to forfeit $3.6 million seized by the government and to pay $18 million in restitution.

Their attorneys have said they will appeal. Jones is from Dallas and Pearson is from Houston.

Prosecutors said Pearson and Jones owned and operated Statewide Physical Medicine Group Inc., which billed Medicare and Medicaid for more than $39 million in services in Mississippi from 2000 to 2005.

The company “purported to provide in-home physical therapy services,” but was really a sham, prosecutors said. Medicare and Medicaid allegedly paid out $18 million that the company billed.

U.S. Attorney Don Burkhalter said in a statement that he was “disappointed in the sentence in light of the magnitude of their crimes against the American taxpayers” and the potential harm to the people they were supposed to care for.

Medicare a federal health insurance program for those 65 and older and the disabled. Medicaid is federal-state program for the needy, aged, blind and disabled and for low-income families with children.

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