Mission Hills, Kan., couple pleads guilty to health care fraud

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Mission Hills, Kan., couple pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to health care fraud and filing false tax returns.

According to the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Carol Ann Ryser, 76, and Michael Earl Ryser, 68, accepted a plea agreement on Thursday that included closing Health Centers of America-Kansas City, LLC and the surrender of Carol's medical license. Michael Ryser was the CEO for the business.

The medical clinic claimed it specialized in diagnosing and treating chronic diseases, but in a June 26, 2012 federal indictment, prosecutors claimed the pair upcharged patients and falsified claims submitted to insurance agencies.

The couple admitted to billing for office visits when Carol Ryser was out of town or when she had very little involvement with the patients, among other fraudulent practices. They also acknowledged that they understated their gross income on tax returns from 2006-2008.

The couple reported information on tax forms from only one bank account, operated by Michael Ryser. Court documents claimed the couple understated a more than $10 million gross income by about 25 percent and overstated expenses by more than $9 million. Court documents showed the tax loss from 2006-2008 was $615,749.

Michael will be sentenced to 24-30 months in federal prison without parole. Carol will be sentenced to three years of probation, including six months of home detention. The Rysers are also required to pay more than $50,000 in restitution to insurance companies.

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