If you drive about 700 miles due south of Oklahoma City, you’ll arrive in Harlingen, Texas. The fast-growing city of about 65,000 is home to the CEO of a group of hospice and home health care facilities.
Henry McInnis, 50, was recently sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and obstruction of justice.
McInnis was accused of lying to patients with long-term incurable diseases, falsely telling them that they had less than six months to live. Prosecutors claim that his lies told to thousands of patients were to enable him to enroll them in hospice programs.
Owner sentenced, too
The owner of the hospice and home health entities, Rodney Mesquias, 50, was convicted and previously sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors said McInnis “directly oversaw a reprehensible criminal scheme that involved the submission of over $150 million in fraudulent bills.” He was also accused of illegal kickbacks and falsifying patients’ medical records.
A Department of Justice statement on the case said prosecutors are dedicated to the pursuit of white-collar members “of corporate management who engage in criminal schemes that prioritize profits over patient care.”
The DOJ claimed that by putting patients into medically unnecessary hospice care, the scheme prevented patients “from accessing needed curative care.” The efforts of the men also resulted in more than $150 million in fraudulent Medicare claims for hospice and other health services.
The DOJ said that though McInnis has no medical training, he would routinely order employees to change medical records to make it appear that patients were terminal.
No tickets, no cars
A DOJ statement issued when the men were convicted in November 2019 included a quote from a prosecutor who said the men had made “millions,” but they “won’t have season tickets or nice cars where they are headed.”
The men were accused of using the proceeds from their operation to buy expensive cars, jewelry and clothing, as well as to fund extravagant Las Vegas kickback trips for physicians who referred patients to their care facilities.