Owner of Kittery hospital supply firm gets 2½ years for fraud

Posted April 18, 2012, at 7:25 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The former owner of a York County medical equipment supply company was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to 2½ years in prison for health care fraud and lying on an application for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Peter Enzinger, 44, of Kittery also was sentenced to three years of supervised release after his prison term.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby ordered him to pay more than $198,000 in restitution. The judge fined Enzinger’s now defunct company, Seacoast Sleep Solutions, $50,000 and ordered the firm to pay $220,000 in restitution.

Enzinger has paid $195,000 in restitution, his attorney, George “Toby” Dilworth of Portland, said Wednesday after the sentencing. Enzinger surrendered his bail and began serving time toward his sentence in November.

Enzinger and his company pleaded guilty in October to committing health care fraud. In July, a federal jury found him guilty of lying on an application for a loan from the SBA.

Between 2005 and August 2010, Enzinger developed and executed a scheme for his firm to defraud public and private insurance carriers of about $220,000 by billing them for products not delivered to patients and for more expensive products than those actually delivered. Enzinger and his firm also continued to bill the carriers for equipment already returned by patients, according to the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty.

Court documents filed in federal court in Portland include examples of Enzinger’s fraudulent billing. In August 2009, a Seacoast employee delivered a standard hospital bed to a patient in Lebanon. Enzinger changed the records to reflect the delivery of a bariatric bed, which holds a larger person and is reimbursed at a higher rate than a standard bed. He also modified records for the patient to show the sale of a gel foam mattress and the rental of a trapeze bar, which never were delivered.

By pleading guilty, Enzinger also admitted that in 2007 he set up a program in which clients could sign up for automatic shipping of supplies for equipment. Bills were sent out to insurers automatically. Seacoast was paid but the supplies were not delivered, according to court documents.

As a result of these and other fraudulent practices, Seacoast overbilled Medicare by more than $145,600, Anthem by more than $49,000 and Martin’s Point by more than $25,000.

Enzinger’s inexperience as a business owner led to cash flow problems at Seacoast, which led to the fraud, according to the sentencing memorandum written by Dilworth.

In July, jurors found that Enzinger had lied about his criminal record on the SBA loan application in 2009.

Enzinger faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on health care fraud; Seacoast faced up to five years of probation and a maximum fine of $500,000.

In addition to those penalties, Enzinger faced up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for his conviction on the charge of lying to the SBA.

Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, Enzinger faced between two years and three months and two years and nine months in prison. Enzinger most likely would have faced between 1½ and two years in prison if he had not tried to hide assets from the U.S. Probation and Pre-trial Services. He did not tell the office, which prepares a presentence report for the court, about money he had earned working construction after his conviction in July.

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