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Hospice owner wants more time for Medicare fraud defense

GREENWOOD — An attorney for the owner of a Mississippi hospice charged with running a multimillion dollar Medicare fraud has asked a federal judge to delay the Dec. 2 trial.

Regina Swims-King was charged in June in a 37-count criminal indictment related to the actions of Angelic Hospice in Greenwood.

Swims-King’s lawyer said in a court filing Tuesday that she has a scheduling conflict.

Prosecutors said the hospice billed Medicare for millions of dollars services that were never rendered, sometimes involving forged documents.

The hospice served numerous counties in the Mississippi Delta. It billed Medicare more than $11 million from 2007 to 2012, according to court records.

Authorities said Swims-King used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including at least 20 cars.

Swims-King is listed in court records as the person who wrote checks for the cars, though the vehicles were registered under various names. The cars listed in court documents include a $92,000 Jaguar, a Lexus and a BMW.

Prosecutors said a hospice recruiter went door-to-door asking whether residents needed their blood pressure checked. The hospice then used their information to bill Medicare for services, prosecutors said.

In one example, authorities said the hospice billed thousands of dollars on behalf of someone who did not need hospice care and was healthy enough to walk several miles a day.

Some of the claims submitted to Medicare had the forged signatures of alleged beneficiaries and doctors, according to the indictment.

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