Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 21, 2013

Ex-Va. rescue squad leader sentenced in fraud case

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — A former president of the Saltville Rescue Squad will spend four years in prison for defrauding Medicare and a private insurer.

Eddie Wayne Louthian, 61, also must pay $907,000 in restitution.

Louthian was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

A federal jury convicted Louthian on health care fraud and perjury charges in September 2012. The jury acquitted the rescue squad of similar charges, and acquitted Louthian of money laundering charges.

Prosecutors say Louthian fraudulently billed Medicare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield for transporting patients who didn't qualify for the service.

"Mr. Louthian used the Saltville Rescue Squad as a vehicle to defraud the Medicare program," U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said in a news release. "A jury found him guilty to fraudulently billing Medicare for unnecessary services, acts for which he was now been justly punished."

Heaphy and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said health care fraud drives up medical costs for everyone.

Co-defendant Monica Hicks pleaded guilty last June to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. She received two years of probation.

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