PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An Illinois man was sentenced Friday by a federal judge in Rhode Island to more than three years in prison for shipping unwanted penis enlargers to diabetes patients as part of a larger fraud scheme that prosecutors say bilked $2.2 million from Medicare over four years.
Gary Winner, 50, of Wheeling, Ill., must also forfeit more than $2.2 million that prosecutors say Medicare lost because of the plot.
U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith also ordered Winner to pay a $12,500 fine and serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.
Lawyers for Winner had sought a maximum sentence of 1½ years. The guidelines for determining Winner’s punishment recommended that he get a prison term between just under six years and a little more than seven years. Winner’s attorneys argued that punishment was too harsh, according to court papers.
Winner’s attorneys also asked that his emotional problems and difficult childhood, including physical and psychological abuse at his father’s hands, be taken into consideration, court papers show.
Prosecutors sought a prison term at the low end of the sentencing range. Winner pleaded guilty in November to two counts of health care fraud, the introduction of an adulterated and misbranded medical device into interstate commerce and money laundering. He faced up to 33 years in prison.
Winner purchased penis enlargers for an average of $26 each from online sex shops and then repackaged and shipped them to patients with information claiming the so-called “erectile pumps” helped “bladder control, urinary flow and prostate comfort,” according to court papers outlining the charges against him.
The online stores peddling adult sexual products sold the devices under a variety of names, prosecutors said.