Smith County couple pleads guilty to one charge of conspiring to commit health care fraud

Published on Tuesday, 10 January 2017 15:15 - Written by A Smith County couple now faces up to 10 years in federal prison after they pleaded guilty to charges of health care fraud in the Eastern District of Texas on Tuesday.

Gerard Dengler, 61, and Suzanne Dengler 52, of Tyler, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud today before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.

According to information presented in court, the Denglers owned and operated Elite Lab Services, a clinical diagnostic laboratory based in Tyler.

As a Medicare provider, the company would bill Medicare for laboratory services provided to nursing homes throughout east Texas, including the mileage associated with providing those services.

Beginning in April 2014, officials said the Denglers conspired to fraudulently increase route mileage that Elite Lab used to calculate the travel allowances billed to Medicare.

From April through October 2014, the company then sought reimbursement from Medicare for mileage that included the falsely inflated amounts.

Under federal statutes, the Denglers each face up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing and have already agreed to pay restitution in excess of $160,000, which represents the loss to Medicare. 

- Staff reports