Feds find $140M in Medicare fraud

- now they're looking for more

WASHINGTON - After documenting more than $140 million in Medicare fraud in south Florida, federal officials said yesterday they will take a more thorough look at other providers of medical equipment. An investigation in the Miami area has led to 38 arrests, including 20 on Tuesday.

Many defendants set up sham medical equipment dealerships. The defendants are accused of stealing the Medicare numbers of beneficiaries or buying their numbers, and then billing the government for power wheelchairs, walkers or kits for testing blood sugar levels, said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Leavitt said increased enforcement efforts will cost about $20 million annually, but could save taxpayers and beneficiaries about $2.5 billion annually. Home health agencies also will be reviewed more thoroughly.

Plea bargain for former teacher

who ran off to Mexico with teen

TOMPKINSVILLE, Ky. - A former teacher charged with having sex with a 14-year-old middle school student and running off to Mexico with him pleaded guilty yesterday to a sodomy charge.

Angela Renee Comer, 28, would serve 10 years in prison under her plea agreement, in which the prosecutor agreed to drop most other charges. Besides one count of third-degree sodomy, Comer pleaded guilty to one count of custodial interference.

Police said Comer had a sexual affair with the boy, who is now 16, and took him without his guardian's permission. Authorities found Comer, her young son and the teen in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on Jan. 10, 2006.

Millionaire headed to prison

taking a detour to the hospital

NEW YORK - A philanthropist and real-estate investor enjoying his last weeks of freedom before beginning a prison sentence in a tax and fraud case was run down by a hit-and-run driver yesterday and severely injured.

Millionaire Steven Green, 42, had surgery at a downtown Manhattan hospital after the collision, according to his attorney, Louis Cherico. "He's in intensive care, but it is a very good prognosis. Thank God," Cherico said.

Green was struck about 1:30 a.m. outside Club Posh, an upscale bar on Manhattan's West Side. Witnesses told police Green had left the lounge and was walking to his Rolls-Royce when he was hit.

Green has been occasional tabloid fodder, dating from the early 1990s when an ugly tenant dispute briefly landed him in jail.

More recently, prosecutors charged him with using a bogus Social Security number to apply for a multimillion-dollar loan. He also was charged with failing to file tax returns between 1999 and 2001. Green pleaded guilty and was sentenced in February to 2 years and 9 months in prison.

Video shows mom on school bus

urging daughter into a fight

TAMPA, Fla. - Prosecutors plan to use a surveillance video in the case against a mother who was charged with barging onto a school bus and telling her daughter to fight another girl.

Shayla Muldrow, 26, of Tampa, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and trespassing. Muldrow faces up to two years in jail if convicted of the misdemeanors.

On Tuesday, prosecutors released a black-and-white video from a school bus camera that shows Muldrow leading her daughters onto the bus and saying, "Where's the girl who slapped my girl?" A 10-year-old girl raised her hand, the trio go to the back of the bus, and a fight breaks out.

According to a police report, witnesses said Muldrow told her 9-year-old daughter to "take care of her business." The bus driver can be heard on the tape calling for help on the radio as Muldrow watches the scuffle. No one was seriously hurt. *

- Associated Press