SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Joshua Miller, a licensed New York hearing aid dispenser and owner of Syracuse Hearing Aid Centers, LLC, has plead guilty to first and second degree grand larceny. Miller will now spend the next 4 to 12 years in prison for his crimes.
In November 2015, Miller was indicted by a grand jury on charges that he was operating a criminal scheme. As part of his guilty plea, he admitted that he fraudulently billed insurance for hearing aids when he was often only providing customers with much less expensive earbuds. According to the prosecutor, Michael Kasmarek, a total of 575 fraudulent claims for hearing aids were filed. Among those claims, 512 individuals were provided with earbuds and in 63 cases nothing was provided at all.
A “Brazen” Scam
Miller’s co-conspirator in the scheme, which took place from 2012-2014, was state prison guard Joshua Powers. Powers was paid referral fees to convince his co-workers to buy earbuds from Miller. When the customers would come in for their earbuds, Miller would then bill state insurance for medically necessary hearing aids for approximately $3,000 each – nearly 10 times more than the cost of the earbuds.
In May, Powers plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and promised to testify against Miller if the case went to trial. Powers also agreed to pay back the $72,500 he received in fees for his part in the scam.
According to Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, the scam became “increasingly brazen and breathtaking in scope, ultimately luring hundreds of public employees into his scheme to illicitly enrich himself at taxpayer expense”.
Following his guilty plea this week, Miller will remain free on bail until his sentencing hearing on August 24th and will then go to state prison.
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