Insufficient Evidence Supported Medicare Fraud Convictions

U.S. v. Rufai, 2013 WL 5615053 (10/15/13) (Okl.) (Published) - The 10th finds insufficient evidence to prove the defendant knowingly and willfully aided the medicare fraud that concededly occurred. The fraud involved getting reimbursed for wheelchairs that were never delivered to patients and delivering cheaper scooters rather than wheelchairs. The defendant did know that the main guy was using him as a straw owner of an enterprise that relied on medicare. But the government didn't show he knew he was helping to further medicare fraud. His interactions with the main guy just showed an association with the guy, not knowledge of the scheme. He had no interaction with medicare. He lived in NYC and the company's office was in Oklahoma. An employee's statements to him that people complained about not receiving equipment from the main guy's other company, which did not have inventory, and that the main guy had her put his name on tax documents may have indicated there was tax misconduct, the main guy was willing to deceive medicare and there was something fishy going on with his company, but they did not show he knew the company he was associated with would fraudulently bill months later. This case has some good quotes regarding the importance of the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt requirement when assessing a sufficiency argument as well as a condemnation of attenuated inferences based on speculation. And the 10th indicates the plain error standard for reversal is almost always met when there is insufficient evidence.