Shoe Store Owners in Medicaid Fraud Scheme
A Camden, N.J., business bilked Medicaid by filing reimbursement claims for high-top Nike sneakers and other athletic shoes or boots passed off as orthopedic footwear, state officials charged Wednesday.
Shapiro's Shoes on the 200 block of Broadway submitted more than 300 claims lacking proper documentation between 2006 and 2011, according to the Office of the State Comptroller's Medicaid Fraud Division.
The claims led to overpayments of $36,400, the office said, putting the business on notice that it could face as much as $2.5 million in penalties.
Shapiro's, an authorized Medicaid vendor, did not have orthopedic shoes or orthopedic inserts on site or the equipment to fabricate the inserts, such as casting equipment and an oven, the state's investigation found.
"Customers come in with a prescription for an orthopedic shoe; they walk out with a basketball shoe," said Pete McAleer, a spokesman for the Comptroller's Office.
Shapiro's owner, Tammy Hahm, and her attorney, Paul Melletz, say the shoe doesn't fit. Melletz said officials were rushing to judgment.
"We follow the prescriptions given by the doctors," said Melletz, a Cherry Hill lawyer. "There was no intent to commit any kind of fraud or any kind of selling something that was improper."