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Judge postpones Medicare fraud trial of hospice owner

GREENWOOD — A federal judge has delayed the trial of the owner of a Mississippi hospice charged with running a multimillion dollar Medicare fraud.

Regina Swims-King was charged in June in a 37-count criminal indictment related to the actions of Angelic Hospice in Greenwood. Her trial had been scheduled for December.

Swims-King’s lawyer had asked for a delay due to a scheduling conflict.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mills granted the request yesterday. Trial is now set for March 17 in U.S. District Court in Oxford.

Swims-King has pleaded not guilty.

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.

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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