Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mehran Javidan Home Health Care Agency Owner Sentenced for Role in $2.2 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/November/13-crm-1191.html

The owner of a Detroit-area home health care agency was sentenced today to serve 65 months in prison for her leading role in a $2.2 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations’ Detroit Office made the announcement.

Mehran Javidan, 51, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to her prison term, Javidan was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution, jointly and severally with her co-defendants.

Javidan was convicted by a federal jury on April 2, 2013, of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, three counts of making false statements related to health care matters and one count of conspiracy to solicit or pay health care kickbacks in exchange for referrals of patients to home health care company Acure Home Care Inc. (Acure). The jury found Javidan not guilty of one count of making false statements and one count of health care fraud and did not reach a verdict on one additional count of health care fraud.

Javidan was initially charged along with two other defendants in an indictment unsealed on Feb. 17, 2011, as part of a nationwide Medicare fraud takedown. One co-defendant was also convicted on April 2, 2013, while the other remains a fugitive.

According to evidence presented at trial, Javidan owned and operated Acure, a home health care company in Oak Park, Mich., and later Troy, Mich. Javidan paid doctors to refer non-homebound patients for physical therapy treatment that was medically unnecessary. The evidence showed that she also paid patient recruiters to obtain Medicare information and pre-signed physical therapy documents from Medicare beneficiaries. The recruiters for Acure obtained the Medicare information and pre-signed forms by paying patients in cash and by promising that the referring doctors would prescribe them narcotic prescriptions.

Evidence presented at trial established that Javidan paid physical therapists and physical therapy assistants employed by Acure to create false and fraudulent physical therapy files using the blank, pre-signed forms to make it appear as if physical therapy services were actually rendered, when in fact, the services had not been rendered.

Javidan then directed the submission of Acure’s falsified billing to Medicare. Acure was paid more than $2.2 million from Medicare between December 2008 and November 2010.


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Friday, November 8, 2013

Javed Rehman Sentenced for Role in $13.8 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/November/13-crm-1195.html

Detroit-area resident Javed Rehman was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison today for his role in a $13.8 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations’ Detroit Office made the announcement.

Rehman, 50, of Farmington Hills, Mich., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to his prison term, Rehman was sentenced to serve two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $1,734,801 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants. Rehman pleaded guilty on July 12, 2013, before Judge Rosen to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

According to court records, in or around May 2009, Rehman purchased Quantum Home Care Inc. with co-conspirators Tausif Rahman and Muhammad Ahmad. Rehman paid kickbacks to recruiters to obtain Medicare beneficiary information used to bill Medicare for home health services – including physical therapy and skilled nursing services – that were never rendered. Rehman was the administrator of Quantum and was responsible for the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare based on falsified files created by the co-conspirators.

Medicare paid approximately $1.7 million to Quantum for physical therapy and skilled nursing services that Quantum purported to render between approximately June 2009 and September 2011. According to court documents, between 2008 and 2009, Rehman’s co-conspirators acquired control of three other home health care companies. The four companies, including Quantum, received approximately $13.8 million from Medicare in the course of the conspiracy.

Rahman pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of money laundering and is scheduled for sentencing on May 21, 2014. Ahmad pleaded guilty on Aug. 28, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and is scheduled for sentencing on May 14, 2014.


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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Eliza Lozano Lumbreras and San Juanita Gallegos Lozano Sentences for Health Care Fraud Conspiracy


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/txs/1News/Releases/2013%20November/131107%20-%20Lumbreras.html

McALLEN, Texas – Two former clinic staffers and a physician assistant’s wife have all been ordered to prison for conspiracy to defraud Medicare and the Texas Medicaid program in the operation of the Mission Clinic and La Hacienda Family Clinic, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Eliza Lozano Lumbreras, 46, and San Juanita Gallegos Lozano, 57, a couple who operated the Mission Clinic, were in the midst of trial in late 2012, when they opted to enter guilty pleas for their roles in the conspiracy. Manuel Anthony Puig, 48, and Romelia Puig, 45, both of Edinburg, operated La Hacienda Family Clinic near Alton and both previously pleaded guilty in advance of trial.

Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa sentenced Lumbreras and Lozano to 50 and 33 months in federal prison, respectively. In addition to the prison terms, Judge Hinojosa ordered they pay $371,720.16 in restitution to Medicare and Medicaid for the false and fraudulent claims they submitted or caused to be submitted to the health care programs. Romelia Puig was ordered to pay $185,881.75 in restitution and received a sentence of 18 months. All will also serve three-year-terms of supervised release upon completion of their prison sentences. Manuel Puig will be sentenced Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 at 2:30 p.m.

Lumbreras and Lozano conspired together and with the others to submit claims to Medicare and Medicaid using the Medicaid provider number of a medical doctor who for years before his death, was unable to practice medicine. In fact, the doctor suffered from Parkinson’s disease and associated Dementia and had been mentally incompetent to practice medicine since September 2001. Although the doctor was unable to practice, they kept the Mission Clinic open for patient care. Lumbreras and Lozano took the doctor to the Mission Clinic and placed him in an office while Lumbreras saw and treated patients. Neither Lumbreras or Lozano were licensed to provide any medical services. The government’s evidence showed that between September 2001 and January 2006, Lumbreras and Lozano submitted bills to the Medicare and Medicaid programs which fraudulently claimed the doctor had provided patients with more than 13,000 medical benefits, items or services when in fact those services had been provided by Lumbreras or not at all. As a result, Medicare and Medicaid paid more than $344,000 on those claims.

Beginning in April 2005, Lumbreras and Lozano also arranged for Manual Puig to operate La Hacienda Family Clinic in Alton and to send bills to Medicare and Medicaid using the provider number of that same unpracticing doctor. Manuel Puig is physician assistant. By state law, a licensed physician is required to supervise and delegate work to a physician assistant and to be responsible for the physician assistant. At his plea hearing, Manuel Puig admitted he joined the ongoing conspiracy, admitting to fraudulently using the Medicaid provider number of that doctor who was unable to practice medicine nor provide any health care benefits, items or services; who did not delegate authority to Manuel Puig to provide any health care benefits, items or services; and who did not supervise Puig’s attempts to provide health care benefits, items or services.

Romelia Puig admitted that between May 2005 and January 2006, she was the biller at La Hacienda Family Clinic and that she submitted or caused to be submitted more than 6,000 claims to Medicare and Medicaid fraudulently using that Texas Medical provider number for which Medicare and Medicaid paid approximately $173,830.56.

Lumbreras had access to the doctor’s bank accounts and was able to obtain control over the money Medicare and Medicaid paid for the fraudulent bills submitted from the Mission and La Hacienda clinics, which was divided among Lumbreras, Lozano, their families, Puig and his wife.

Previously released on bond, all were allowed to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.


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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gloria Himmons Sentenced for Role in $67 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/November/13-crm-1184.html

A patient broker of a South Florida psychiatric hospital was sentenced today to serve 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for her participation in a $67 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations’ Miami Office made the announcement.

Gloria Himmons, 54, of Union Springs, Ala., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez in the Southern District of Florida. In March 2013, Himmons pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to receive health care kickbacks and one count of receiving a health care kickback. In addition to her prison term, Himmons was ordered to pay $14 million in restitution, joint and severally with her co-defendants.

According to court documents, Himmons was a patient broker at Hollywood Pavilion LLC (HP), a state-licensed psychiatric hospital in South Florida that purported to offer both inpatient and outpatient mental health services. Himmons would provide Medicare beneficiaries to HP in exchange for bribes and kickbacks, and she knew that the patients she provided to HP were not appropriate for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization or for outpatient mental health treatment. The patients she provided to HP included those who were not severely mentally ill, as well as substance abusers looking for rehabilitation programs. The patients did not have legitimate referrals from hospitals or doctors who had been treating acute-phase, severe mental illness.

From at least 2005 through September 2012, in exchange for bribes and kickbacks, Himmons knowingly and willfully provided to HP Medicare beneficiaries who did not need inpatient or outpatient psychiatric treatment. As a result of Himmons’s participation in this scheme, HP was improperly paid more than $7 million by Medicare. From at least 2003 through at least August 2012, HP billed Medicare approximately $67 million for services that were not properly rendered, for patients that did not qualify for the services being billed, and for claims for patients who were procured through bribes and kickbacks. Medicare reimbursed HP on approximately $40 million of those claims.

On Sept. 10, 2013, co-defendants Karen Kallen-Zury, Daisy Miller and Christian Coloma were sentenced on their June 2013 jury convictions. Kallen-Zury, the chief executive officer of HP, and Miller and Coloma were convicted on all counts at trial and sentenced to 300 months, 180 months and 144 months, respectively. Kallen-Zury and Miller were ordered to pay, jointly and severally with their co-defendants, nearly $40 million in restitution. Coloma was ordered to pay, jointly and severally, more than $20 million in restitution.


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Orlando, Fla., Area Hospice to Pay $3 Million to Resolve Allegations That It Billed Medicare for Patients Not Terminally Ill


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/November/13-civ-1179.html

Hospice of the Comforter Inc. (HOTCI) has agreed to pay $3 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to the Medicare program for hospice services provided to patients who were not eligible for the Medicare hospice benefit, the Justice Department announced today. HOTCI is headquartered in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and provides hospice services to patients residing in Seminole, Osceola and Orange counties in Florida.

“This settlement is a result of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to prevent the abuse of the taxpayer-funded Medicare hospice program, which is intended to provide comfort and care to terminally ill persons during the last six months of their lives,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart F. Delery. “We will pursue those who seek to misuse this important benefit for their own enrichment.”

The government alleged that between December 2005 and December 2010, HOTCI engaged in practices that resulted in billing Medicare for patients who were not terminally ill. Specifically, HOTCI allegedly directed its staff to admit all referred patients without regard to whether they were eligible for the Medicare hospice benefit, falsified medical records to make it appear that certain patients were eligible for the benefit when they were not, employed field nurses without hospice training, established procedures to limit physicians’ roles in assessing patients’ terminal status and delayed discharging patients when they became ineligible for the benefit.

As part of this settlement, HOTCI has agreed to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services that provides for procedures and reviews to be put in place to promptly detect and prevent future conduct similar to that which gave rise to the settlement. In addition, HOTCI’s former Chief Executive Officer Robert Wilson has agreed to a three-year, voluntary exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs.

“This settlement represents a fair and appropriate resolution of this troubling matter,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida A. Lee Bentley III. “Hospice providers in our district should be on notice that our office will do what it takes to protect our citizens from this kind of misconduct.”

“Hospice care is a sacred trust from which no provider should fraudulently profit,” said Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Daniel R. Levinson. “Claiming tax dollars for people who are not terminally ill ?? and therefore ineligible for hospice care ?? cannot be tolerated.”

This settlement illustrates the government’s emphasis on combating health care fraud and marks another achievement for the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative, which was announced in May 2009 by Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The partnership between the two departments has focused efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid financial fraud through enhanced cooperation. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Since January 2009, the Justice Department has recovered a total of more than $16.7 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $11.9 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.

The allegations settled today arose from a lawsuit filed by a former HOTCI employee, Douglas Stone, under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. Under the act, private citizens can bring suit on behalf of the government for false claims and share in any recovery. Stone’s share of the recovery has not been determined.

This matter was handled by the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.


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Monday, November 4, 2013

Comfort Gates Sentenced To 72 Months In Federal Prison For $3 Million Health Care Fraud


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/txn/PressRelease/2013/NOV2013/nov4Comfort_Gates_trial.html

DALLAS — Comfort Gates, 48, was sentenced this afternoon, by U.S District Judge David C. Godbey, to 72 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $830,000 in restitution following her conviction at trial in April 2013 on charges stemming from her involvement in the operation of Euless Healthcare Corporation (EHC) and Medic Healthcare Incorporated (Medic). Gates is one six defendants convicted in the conspiracy. Judge Godbey ordered that Gates, a current resident of Houston, surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on January 13, 2014. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Gates, an employee of Medic, and coconspirator Godwin Umotong, 58, an employee of EHC and Medic, were each convicted at trial on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Gates was also convicted on two counts of health care fraud and Umotong was also convicted on five counts of health care fraud. Umotong is scheduled to be sentenced on December 2, 2013; he faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the counts of conviction. He could also be ordered to pay restitution.

Other defendants in the case who have been convicted and sentenced are listed below. Each was also ordered to pay restitution of amounts ranging from approximately $195,000 to $1.4 million.

Ovsanna Agopian, 58, Houston, 120 months in federal prison

Boghos Babadjanian, 55, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., probation

Leslie Omagbemi, 56, of Dallas, 30 months in federal prison

Munda Massaquoi, 69, of Houston, 37 months in federal prison

ECH was located on West Bedford Euless Road in Hurst Texas, and Medic, which operated from October 2009 to May 2011, was located on Bonhomme Road in Houston. Agopian, 58, was the operator of both EHC and Medic.

According to documents filed in the case and evidence presented at trial, Agopian, Umotong, Omagbemi, Massaquoi and Gates conspired together to submit, or cause to be submitted, fraudulent claims to Medicare for diagnostic tests and office visits. Agopian recruited unlicensed doctors to work for EHC and Medic by telling them that they would treat beneficiaries in the beneficiaries’ homes. Medicare does not pay for services performed by unlicensed persons. Nevertheless, these recruits went to beneficiaries’ homes and purported to conduct medical examinations, including ordering diagnostic tests. In total, more than $2.7 million was fraudulently billed, and of that amount, Medicare paid more than $1.3 million.


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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tracy Brown Owner of Louisiana Medical Equipment Supply Company Indicted for Roles in $3 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/November/13-crm-1167.html

The owner of a Louisiana medical equipment supply company and a marketer who worked for the company have been indicted for allegedly engaging in a $3 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Special Agent in Charge Michael Anderson of the FBI’s New Orleans Division made the announcement.

Tracy Brown, 43, of New Orleans, and Sandra Parkman Thompson, 62, who is currently incarcerated in Texas, were charged in the Eastern District of Louisiana in an 18-count indictment including charges of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to pay and receive health care fraud kickbacks, and illegal remuneration. If convicted, the defendants face 10 years in prison for each health care fraud conspiracy and health care fraud count, and five years in prison for each remaining count.

According to the indictment, Brown owned Psalms 23-DME and is alleged to have billed Medicare more than $3 million for power wheelchairs, wheelchair accessories and orthotic equipment for Medicare beneficiaries who neither wanted nor needed the equipment. Brown also allegedly paid illegal kickbacks to Thompson and other “marketers” to locate doctors who were willing to prescribe the equipment to Medicare beneficiaries who did not want or need these items. Thompson and other marketers were paid for each prescription they obtained for Psalms 23-DME, regardless of whether the items prescribed were wanted or needed.

Thompson and other marketers allegedly obtained falsified prescriptions for medically unnecessary equipment from Drs. Anthony Jase and Michael Hunter. A third physician allegedly provided falsified prescriptions directly to Brown. In exchange, Brown paid this physician approximately $250 per prescription.

The indictment alleges that in some cases, the equipment Psalms 23-DME billed to Medicare was never provided to a Medicare beneficiary. In other cases, Brown would bill for the most expensive types of durable medical equipment allowed by Medicare but would provide Medicare beneficiaries with much less expensive versions of the equipment, which would not have been reimbursed by Medicare.

According to the indictment, Brown allegedly paid Thompson and other marketers approximately $500 for each wheelchair referral submitted and between approximately $200 and $250 for a so-called “arthritis kit” referral, a term used by Psalms 23-DME for a number of braces and other orthotic items that were billed for Medicare beneficiaries regardless of medical need or physician request.

Jase and Hunter pleaded guilty to health care fraud charges on Oct. 31, 2013, and Sept. 26, 2012, respectively, and are awaiting sentencing.

An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless they are proven guilty.


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dr. Spyros Panos Orthopedic Surgeon Pleads Guilty To Multimillion Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/November13/panosspyrosplea.php

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DR. SPYROS PANOS, an orthopedic surgeon, pled guilty today in White Plains federal court before U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Roman to operating a long-running health care fraud scheme in which PANOS defrauded Medicare, the New York State Insurance Fund, and numerous private health insurance providers (the “Health Insurance Providers”) out of over $2.5 million by systematically lying about the nature and scope of the surgical procedures that he performed.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Dr. Panos was brazen in his fraud on federal, state, and private health insurance providers. He filed claims for thousands of surgical procedures, often more than 20 a day, billing a total of over $35 million, when he actually performed lesser procedures, or none at all. We and our law enforcement partners finally put a halt to his abuses.”

According to the Information and other documents filed in this case:

PANOS was a board certified orthopedic surgeon licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York who was part a medical group with offices in Dutchess County, New York, (the “Medical Group”) and performed orthopedic surgical procedures (“Surgical Procedures”) at hospitals in Poughkeepsie, New York. From at least 2006 through July 2011, PANOS maintained a high-volume orthopedic practice, which enabled him to carry out his fraud scheme on a large scale. Panos performed thousands of Surgical Procedures, and often as many as 20 or more in a single day, for which he and the Medical Group submitted claims in excess of $35 million to Health Care Providers. Health Care Providers paid the Medical Group in excess of $13 million on these claims.

To receive payments for Surgical Procedures from the Health Insurance Providers, PANOS was required to submit, and caused the Medical Group to submit, information to the Health Insurance Providers regarding the nature and details of the Surgical Procedures. With respect to many of the Surgical Procedures he performed, PANOS furnished, and caused the Medical Group to furnish, false information to Health Insurance Providers that resulted in the Health Insurance Providers paying the Medical Group at least $2.5 million more than PANOS and the Medical Group were entitled to receive based on the true nature and details of the Surgical Procedures PANOS performed. Among PANOS’s false representations were the following:

a. PANOS claimed he performed open surgeries, when in fact PANOS performed the surgeries arthroscopically;

b. PANOS claimed he used certain techniques and procedures during the course of the Surgical Procedures, when in fact PANOS did not, either because they were not medically necessary or because PANOS used other techniques and procedures that would have resulted in lower payments, if any, from the Health Insurance Providers; and

c. PANOS removed body tissue, known in the medical field as loose bodies, in excess of certain size criteria, when in fact PANOS either removed no loose bodies or removed loose bodies that were smaller than the thresholds set by the Health Insurance Providers for payment.

PANOS, was compensated handsomely -- during the years 2007 through 2011, he was paid over $7.5 million by the Medical Group, a number that was inflated as a result of his fraud scheme.

Beginning in or about December 2010, PANOS attempted to conceal his scheme by, among other things, falsely representing to the Medical Group that the Fraudulent Claims were the result of clerical errors.

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PANOS, 45, of Hopewell Junction, New York, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. PANOS agreed to the entry of a $5 million order of forfeiture against him, representing the approximate proceeds of his charged crime. As a result of his conviction, PANOS is subject to mandatory exclusion from participation in any Federal health care program, including Medicare and Medicaid, and he has agreed not to oppose a request by the Government that, as part of his sentence, the Court prohibit him from practicing medicine as a condition of probation or supervised release. Following the uncovering of the scheme, Panos surrendered his New York State medical license. As part of his plea agreement, PANOS must take any reasonable steps necessary to ensure that his Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia medical licenses are revoked, surrendered, or suspended by the time of sentencing. PANOS is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Roman on March 7, 2014.

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and thanked the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Counsel to the Inspector General, the New York State Insurance Fund, and the New York Workers’ Compensation Board Office of the Fraud Inspector General for their extraordinary assistance in the investigation.


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Friday, November 1, 2013

Gwendolyn Climmons-Johnson Owner of Texas-based Ambulance Service Convicted of Health Care Fraud


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/October/13-crm-1162.html

A federal jury in Houston has convicted Gwendolyn Climmons-Johnson, 53, of multiple counts of health care fraud for submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for ambulance services.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas made the announcement.

After a three-day trial, the jury convicted Climmons-Johnson on Oct. 30, 2013, of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count when she is sentenced on Feb. 7, 2014.

According to evidence presented at trial, Climmons-Johnson was the owner and operator of Urgent Response EMS (Urgent Response), a Texas-based entity that purportedly provided non-emergency ambulance services to Medicare beneficiaries in the Houston area. The evidence showed that from January 2010 through December 2011, Climmons-Johnson and others conspired to unlawfully enrich themselves by submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for ambulance services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided. Climmons-Johnson, who controlled the day-to-day operations of Urgent Response, submitted, and caused to be submitted, approximately $2.4 million in fraudulent ambulance service claims to Medicare.

At trial, the evidence showed that patient records had been falsified and the Medicare beneficiaries for whom Climmons-Johnson had billed ambulance services did not need ambulance services and were not in the condition stated in the records.


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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dr. Mikhail L. Presman Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/October/13-crm-1157.html

Dr. Mikhail L. Presman, a licensed psychiatrist employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), pleaded guilty today to health care fraud for falsely billing Medicare for home medical treatment to Medicare beneficiaries and agreed to forfeit more than $1.2 million in illegal profits.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, and Special Agent in Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.

According to court documents, from Jan. 1, 2006, through May 10, 2013, Presman submitted approximately $4 million in Medicare claims for home treatment of Medicare beneficiaries notwithstanding his full-time, salaried position as a psychiatrist at the VA hospital in Brooklyn. Contrary to his representations, Presman did not provide any treatment to a substantial number of the beneficiaries he claimed to have treated. For example, Presman submitted claims to Medicare for home medical visits at locations within New York City even though he was physically located in China at the time of these purported home visits. Additionally, Presman submitted claims to Medicare for 55 home medical visits to beneficiaries who were hospitalized on the date of the purported visits.

Presman is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser of the Eastern District of New York on Feb. 13, 2014, and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.


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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Roberto Marrero, Sandra Fernandez Viera, and Enrique Rodriguez Plead Guilty in Miami for Role in $20 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme



The owners and operators of several Miami home health care agencies and a patient recruiter pleaded guilty today in connection with a health care fraud scheme involving defunct home health care company Trust Care Health Services Inc. (Trust Care).

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations Miami office; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael J. DePalma of the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Miami Field Office made the announcement.

Roberto Marrero, 60; Sandra Fernandez Viera, 49; and Enrique Rodriguez, 59, all of Miami, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres in the Southern District of Florida to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks.

Marrero and Fernandez Viera were owners and operators of Trust Care, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. Rodriguez worked as a patient recruiter on behalf of Trust Care and Marrero and Fernandez Viera.

According to court documents, Marrero and Fernandez Viera operated Trust Care for the purpose of billing the Medicare Program for, among other things, expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.

Marrero largely controlled Trust Care and, in light of that role, oversaw the schemes operating out of the company. Fernandez Viera’s primary role, among others, involved managing and supervising personnel at Trust Care. Both Marrero and Fernandez Viera were responsible for negotiating and paying kickbacks and bribes, interacting with patient recruiters, and coordinating and overseeing the submission of fraudulent claims submitted to the Medicare program.

Marrero, Fernandez Viera and their co-conspirators paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters, including Rodriguez, in return for the recruiters providing patients to Trust Care for home health and therapy services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided. Marrero, Fernandez Viera and their co-conspirators at Trust Care also paid kickbacks and bribes to co-conspirators in doctors’ offices and clinics in exchange for home health and therapy prescriptions, medical certifications and other documentation. Marrero, Fernandez Viera and their co-conspirators used these prescriptions, medical certifications and other documentation to fraudulently bill the Medicare program for home health care services, which Marrero and Fernandez Viera knew was in violation of federal criminal laws.

Rodriguez offered and paid kickbacks and bribes to Medicare beneficiaries in return for those beneficiaries allowing Trust Care to bill Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided. Rodriguez solicited and received kickbacks and bribes from the owners and operators of Trust Care, including Marrero and Fernandez Viera, in return for his patient recruiting. Rodriguez knew that in many instances the patients he recruited for Trust Care did not qualify for the services billed to Medicare.

From approximately March 2007 through at least October 2010, Trust Care submitted more than $20 million in claims for home health services. Medicare paid Trust Care more than $15 million for these fraudulent claims.

Marrero, Fernandez Viera and Rodriguez also acknowledged their involvement in similar fraudulent schemes at several other Miami health care agencies in addition to Trust Care with estimated total losses of approximately $50 million, including Global Nursing Home Health Inc., Lovable Home Health Services Corp., New Concepts In Health Inc., Ubieta Health System Inc., R&M Health Care Inc., Vital Care Home Health Services Inc., Centrum Home Health Care Inc. and A&B Health Services Inc.

At sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 12, 2013, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five years in prison for conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks.


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Friday, September 6, 2013

Yolanda Nowlin Convicted in Health Care Fraud Cospiracy


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/txs/1News/Releases/2013%20September/130905%20-%20Nowlin.html

HOUSTON – Yolanda Nowlin, 42, has been convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit kickback fraud and aiding and abetting Social Security fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The verdicts were returned late yesterday afternoon following seven days of trial and less than three hours of deliberations.


Nowlin, of Bryan, ran two durable medical equipment companies - Yellabone Medic Care Express Equipment Supply Company and Yellabone Medical Equipment Inc. Nowlin was arrested in December 2012 along with co-defendant Carla Parnell, 50, also from Bryan. Parnell pleaded guilty earlier this year to Social Security fraud and testified against Nowlin at the jury trial.

The evidence at trial showed that between July 2003 and December 2009, Nowlin engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. Nowlin submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for durable medical equipment (DME) and incontinence supplies that were not delivered, not wanted and not needed by Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries and were often the result of illegal kickbacks. During the alleged conspiracy, Nowlin submitted approximately $3,391,771.90 in claims to Medicare and Medicaid and received $1,108,316.82 for those claims. Approximately $750,000 was identified as fraudulently paid.

The evidence at trial also showed that Nowlin paid kickbacks to a large number of recruiters over the course of the scheme in return for the referral of beneficiaries to Yellabone.

Nowlin was additionally convicted of aiding and abetting the theft of government money from the Social Security administration. Nowlin and Parnell concealed Parnell’s employment with Yellabone in order to continue Parnell’s receiving Social Security disability benefits to which she was not entitled.

Nowlin faces up to 10 years for aiding and abetting Social Security fraud, up to 10 years for each count of health care fraud, up to 10 years for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and a maximum of five years for conspiracy to commit kickback fraud. She could also face the possibility of up to a $250,000 fine.

Nowlin’s sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 13, 2013, while Parnell is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20, 2013. Both women were permitted to remain on bond pending their respective hearings.

The United States is additionally seeking forfeiture of approximately $750,000 to be paid as restitution to Medicare and Medicaid.


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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Elizabeth Monteagudo and Cristobal Gonzalez Plead Guilty in $48 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme



Two patient recruiters of a Miami health care company pleaded guilty late yesterday for their participation in a $48 million home health Medicare fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dennis of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations Miami Office made the announcement.

Elizabeth Monteagudo, 33, and Cristobal Gonzalez, 39, both of Miami, pleaded guilty on Sept. 3, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard to one count each of conspiracy to receive health care kickbacks. Monteagudo also pleaded guilty to receipt of kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for Dec. 2, 2013.

According to court documents, Monteagudo and Gonzalez were patient recruiters who worked for Caring Nurse Home Health Care Corp., and Gonzalez also worked for Good Quality Home Health Care, Inc. Caring Nurse and Good Quality were Miami home health care agencies that purported to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries.

According to court documents, from approximately January 2009 through approximately June 2011, Monteagudo and Gonzalez would recruit patients for Caring Nurse and/or Good Quality and would solicit and receive kickbacks and bribes from the owners and operators of Caring Nurse and/or Good Quality in return for allowing the agency to bill the Medicare program on behalf of the recruited patients. These Medicare beneficiaries were billed for home health care and therapy services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided.

Monteagudo also admitted to her involvement with $7 million in fraudulent billings for Starlite Home Health Agency Inc., which she owned and operated.

In a related case, on Feb. 27, 2013, Rogelio Rodriguez and Raymond Aday, the owners and operators of Caring Nurse and Good Quality, were sentenced to serve 108 and 51 months in prison, respectively. Their sentencings followed their December 2012 guilty pleas each to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud charged in an October 2012 indictment, which charged that from approximately January 2006 through June 2011, Caring Nurse and Good Quality submitted approximately $48 million in claims for home health services that were not medically necessary and/or not provided. Medicare actually paid approximately $33 million for these fraudulent claims.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ambulance Company Owners Sentenced To Prison For Health Care Fraud Scheme



PHILADELPHIA - Aleksandr N. Zagorodny, 40, of Southampton, PA, was sentenced today to 78 months in prison for a healthcare fraud scheme involving MedEx Ambulance, Inc., located in Feasterville, PA. Zagorodny was the President and a founder of MedEx Ambulance. His 36 year-old brother, Sergey Zagorodny, from Philadelphia, PA, the former Vice-president and co-owner of the company, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for his involvement in the health care fraud scheme. MedEx Ambulance was ordered to be dissolved after it has been excluded from participation in Medicare and its assets are transferred to the government to satisfy restitution and forfeiture obligations. Each defendant had pleaded guilty to all counts in a 41-count indictment including health care fraud, false statements in connection with health care matters, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud.

Defendant MedEx Ambulance and its owners transported patients who were able to walk and could travel safely by means other than ambulance and who were not eligible for ambulance transportation under Medicare requirements. Falsified reports made it appear that the patients needed to be transported by ambulance when the defendants and their employees knew otherwise. The defendants billed for the ambulance services as if those services were medically necessary. The Medicare program was bilked out of more than $3.4 million through this fraud.

U.S. District Court Judge Berle M. Schiller also ordered restitution to Medicare in the amount of $3,418,358.81, a special assessment of $4,100 for each individual defendant and $16,400 for the corporation, and a 3-year term of supervised release for the individuals and 5 years of probation for the corporation. The Court ordered the forfeiture of four ambulances that had been purchased for over $200,000, as well as forfeiture of bank accounts worth over $40,000, and entered a money judgment against the defendants for $3,418,358.81. In connection with the sentencing, the company agreed to sell its base of operations and to provide the proceeds of that sale to the government in partial satisfaction of the defendants’ restitution obligations. The defendants and their wives also pledged to sell their family homes, as well as additional property, and to provide the proceeds of the sale of those assets to partially satisfy the defendants’ restitution obligations.


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sylvia Salinas Ramirez and Debra Jean Velasquez Convicted in Home Health Services Conspiracy


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/txs/1News/Releases/2013%20September/130904%20-%20Ramirez%20and%20Velasquez.html

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Sylvia Salinas Ramirez, of Driscoll, and Debra Jean Velasquez, of Robstown, have been convicted of wire fraud and conspiring to do so as part of a scheme to defraud the Texas Medicaid program through fraudulent home health billings, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Ramirez, 52, and Velasquez, 41, were charged in a 14-count federal indictment returned Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Today, they appeared before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos and entered pleas of guilty to conspiring to submit false and fraudulent bills to the Texas Medicaid Program by wire transmissions as well as wire fraud for using interstate wire transmissions to bill.

The two women admitted that from or about Aug. 1, 2009, through on or about June 15, 2010, they were employed by the Corpus Christi office of MRNG Inc. doing business as Caring Touch Home Health. During that time, they conspired to submit false and fraudulent bills through wire transmissions to the Texas Medicaid program and the Medicaid funded managed care organizations known as Evercare of Texas LLC and Superior Health Plan Inc. for home health services that had not been provided. Ramirez and Velasquez admitted they created false and fraudulent time sheets for former Caring Touch employees for home health services that had not been provided and then fraudulently billed Medicaid, Evercare and Superior in the name of Caring Touch for those non-existent services. They sent approximately 562 of those false and fraudulent bills by wire.

Ramirez and Velasquez also admitted that in order to personally profit from their fraudulent billings, they created phony payroll records from the fraudulent time sheet which they then sent to Caring Tough’s payroll staff. Ramirez and Velasquez then obtained the payroll checks generated from the false and fraudulent time records, forged the signatures of the former Caring Touch employees, then cashed the checks and divided the money among themselves. Caring Touch and the former employees whose names were used on the false time sheets and checks were not accused of any wrongdoing.

Ramirez and Velasquez admitted that as a result of their false and fraudulent claims, Texas Medicaid, Evercare and Superior paid the approximate aggregate sum of $155,127.72. As part of their pleas, the women have agreed to pay restitution in that amount.

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud each carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison without parole as well as a possible $250,000 fine. Judge Ramos has set sentencing Dec. 3, 2013. Ramirez and Velasquez were permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.


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Monday, September 2, 2013

Former Office Manager for Health Care Solutions Network Sentenced for $63 Million Medicare Fraud


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/August/13-crm-981.html

A former office manager at the defunct health care provider Health Care Solutions Network Inc. (HCSN) was sentenced today in Miami to serve 68 months in prison for her role in a fraud scheme that resulted in more than $63 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Florida Medicaid.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations Miami office made the announcement.

Lisset Palmero, 45, of Miami, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in the Southern District of Florida. In addition to her prison term, Palmero was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $17.4 million.

During the course of the conspiracy, Palmero was employed as a receptionist and office manager at HCSN, a mental health facility that purported to provide Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) services. A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness.

HCSN of Florida (HCSN-FL) operated community mental health centers at two locations. According to court documents, Palmero was aware that HCSN-FL paid illegal kickbacks to owners and operators of Miami-Dade County Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) in exchange for patient referral information to be used to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Palmero also knew that many of the ALF referral patients were ineligible for PHP services because they suffered from mental retardation, dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Court documents reveal that Palmero was aware that HCSN-FL personnel were fabricating patient medical records. Many of these medical records were created weeks or months after the patients were admitted to HCSN-FL for purported PHP treatment. Palmero was also aware that medical records were fabricated for “ghost patients” who were never admitted to the HCSN-FL PHP. During her employment at HCSN-FL, Palmero actively concealed the fabrication of medical records by preparing, and causing others to prepare, documentation that was later utilized to support false and fraudulent billing to government-sponsored health care benefit programs, including Medicare and Florida Medicaid.

According to court documents, from 2004 through 2011, HCSN billed Medicare and the Florida Medicaid program approximately $63 million for purported HCSN-FL mental health services.


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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Evelyn Fuller and Michael McLean Sentenced for Health Care Fraud


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/ncm/news/2013/08_28_13.html

Ordered to serve prison time and pay restitution

GREENSBORO, N.C. – United States Attorney Ripley Rand of the Middle District of North Carolina announced today that two Alamance County residents have been sentenced to prison for defrauding the Medicaid program.

EVELYN FULLER, 61, and MICHAEL McLEAN, 57, were sentenced by United States District Judge Catherine Eagles in federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. FULLER was sentenced to 26 months imprisonment. Her co-defendant, McLEAN, was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment. FULLER and McLEAN were also ordered to pay restitution to the Medicaid program in the amount of $399,811.44. Both FULLER and McLEAN will serve three years of supervised release after serving their prison sentences.

FULLER and McLEAN plead guilty on February 27, 2013, to health care fraud charges in connection with a scheme to defraud the North Carolina State Medicaid program in connection with community support services. Both worked for a company called Harvest House Community Development Corporation, through which they submitted false claims to the Medicaid program for community support services which were not actually rendered. Community support services are rehabilitative services for eligible children and adults in which the clinical and diagnostic needs of the clients are arranged, coordinated, and monitored.


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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wahiawa General Hospital Pays $451,428.00 To Resolve Allegation Of Improper Claims


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/hi/news/1308wgh.html

HONOLULU - Wahiawa General Hospital ("WGH") of Honolulu, Hawaii, shall pay $451,428.00 to settle two lawsuits alleging that WGH improperly billed the Medicare program, the State of Hawaii Medicaid program, and TRICARE, the federal health benefits program for military dependents. The settlement grew out of civil "whistleblower" lawsuits brought under the federal and State of Hawaii False Claims Acts in federal and state court by a doctor who had worked at the Physicians Center at Mililani (“PCM”), an out-patient clinic operated by WGH. The doctor alleged that WGH had submitted bills to Medicare and Medicaid programs for services provided by resident doctors without the level of supervision required by federal law. The federal and state governments initiated an investigation based upon the doctor’s allegations.

According to the settlement agreement signed on August 29, 2013, the federal and state governments alleged that WGH wrongfully submitted claims to the Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE programs for services provided to federal beneficiaries at WGH and PMC, during the time period from April 1, 2008, through March 31, 2011, by resident doctors participating in the Family Practice Residency Program (“FPRP”) sponsored by the John A. Burns School of Medicine, without satisfactory documentation of the required supervision by the FPRP’s teaching faculty or where the coding of services performed could not be confirmed by the doctors’ entries in the patients’ medical records. While WGH agreed to the settlement, it did not admit liability. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, WGH shall pay the federal government a settlement payment of $451,428.00. WGH also agreed to pay $75,000.00 in attorney’s fees and costs to the attorneys who represented the doctor.

Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, noted that under the federal False Claims Act, the United States can seek up to triple damages, plus penalties, for false and fraudulent claims for payment that are submitted to government programs. To encourage assistance from the public, the False Claims Act allows private persons bring civil lawsuits on behalf of the government and to receive a share of any damages recovered through the lawsuit if the person substantially contributes to the successful prosecution of the action. In this case, the doctor who initiated the lawsuits will receive $84,642.75 of the $451,428.00 settlement payment. Nakakuni praised the doctor for his courage in coming forward and reporting the alleged wrongdoing, and expressed appreciation for the efforts of his attorneys, Margery Bronster, Esq., and Sunny Lee, Esq., both of Honolulu.

Wade McFaul, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General region including Hawaii, stated: "We will work tirelessly to protect the taxpayers and these vitally important federal health care programs. Working with law enforcement partners, our investigators, auditors and attorneys uncovered evidence that WGH allegedly submitted bills to Medicare for services performed by resident doctors without properly documenting the required supervision."


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Friday, August 30, 2013

William B. Wolf III, Dr. Timothy J. Greenan and Dr. Steven Winter to Pay $3.57 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations



New York-based Imagimed LLC, the company’s former owners, William B. Wolf III and Dr. Timothy J. Greenan, and the company’s former chief radiologist, Dr. Steven Winter, will pay $3.57 million to resolve allegations that they submitted to federal healthcare programs false claims for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services, the Justice Department announced today. Imagimed owns and operates fifteen MRI facilities, located primarily in New York state, under the name “Open MRI.”

Allegedly, from July 1, 2001, through April 23, 2008, Imagimed, Greenan, Wolf and Winter submitted claims to Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE for MRI scans performed with a contrast dye without the direct supervision of a qualified physician. Since a potential adverse side effect of contrast dye is anaphylactic shock, federal regulations require that a physician supervise the administration of contrast dye when it is used for an MRI. Also, allegedly, from July 1, 2005, to April 23, 2008, Imagimed, Greenan, Wolf and Winter submitted claims for services referred to Imagimed by physicians with whom Imagimed had improper financial relationships. In exchange for these referrals, Imagimed entered into sham on-call arrangements, provided pre-authorization services without charge and provided various gifts to certain referring physicians, in violation of the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute.

“The Department of Justice is committed to guarding against abuse of federal healthcare programs,” said Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. “We will help protect patients’ health by ensuring doctors who submit claims to federal healthcare programs follow proper safety precautions at all times.”

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York, Richard S. Hartunian said: “This case is an example of our commitment to using all of the remedies available, including civil actions under the False Claims Act, to ensure patient safety and combat health care fraud. Stripping away the profit motive for circumventing physician supervision requirements has both a remedial and a deterrent effect. The settlement announced today advances our critical interest in both the integrity of our health care system and the safe delivery of medical services.”

The allegations resolved by the settlement were brought in a lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act’s whistleblower provisions, which permit private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. The whistleblower in this case, Dr. Patrick Lynch, was a local radiologist and will receive $565,500.

This settlement illustrates the government’s emphasis on combating health care fraud and marks another achievement for the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative, which was announced in May 2009 by Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The partnership between the two departments has focused efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid financial fraud through enhanced cooperation. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Since January 2009, the Justice Department has recovered a total of more than $14.8 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $10.8 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dr. Tuan Truong Dentist Pleads Guilty In Medicaid Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/txn/PressRelease/2013/AUG2013/aug27Tuan_Truong_plea.html

Defendant Worked as a Pediatric Dental Provider at Kool Smiles and Personally Benefitted From Scheme

ABILENE, Texas — A dentist who practiced pediatric dentistry at Kool Smiles in Abilene, Texas, has admitted that he made false and fraudulent statements and entries on patient records, which caused Medicaid to be billed for, and pay, at least $120,000 for services falsely claimed to have been performed, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Dr. Tuan Truong, aka “Terry Truong,” of Abilene, pleaded guilty this afternoon, before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, to an information charging one count of making a false statement in connection with a health care matter. Truong, who will remain on bond, faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution. A sentencing date was not set.

According to documents filed in the case, in summer 2008, Truong began working for Kool Smiles, which paid him a base salary and offered opportunities for bonuses based on additional procedures he performed in excess of daily targets set by Kool Smiles management. Dentists were required to use professional judgment in the treatment and management of patient care.

Beginning on June 30, 2008, and continuing to July 10, 2009, Truong made false entries on Kool Smiles patient records, purporting to have performed dental services for Medicaid beneficiaries that he well knew he had not performed. As a result of the false and fraudulent statements and entries Truong made, Kool Smiles billed Medicaid for procedures that were not performed. In fact, during this time period, Truong made false entries in the Kool Smiles electronic database that caused Kool Smiles to bill and receive payment from Medicaid (and Medicaid affiliates) of more than $120,000, but less than $200,000 for services he claimed to have performed, but did not.

In addition, according to the factual resume filed, Truong personally benefitted from this scheme by receiving bonuses of $32,749 to which he would not have been otherwise entitled.


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dr. Joel E. Miller Arrested For Heath Care Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.justice.gov/usao/co/news/2013/aug/8-26-13.html

DENVER – Joel E. Miller, age 55, of Craig, Colorado, was arrested without incident today on charges of health care fraud, money laundering and distributing/dispensing controlled substances, federal and state authorities announced. Miller was indicted by federal grand jury in Denver on August 21, 2013, which remained under seal until his arrest and first court appearance. Miller was arrested without incident in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He made his initial appearance this afternoon before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Grand Junction, where he was advised of his rights and the charges pending against him.

According to the indictment, Miller was a licensed physician in the state of Colorado and obtained Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree in 1990. He was licensed to practice medicine in Colorado in 1994. In 2003 he practiced medicine in Moffat County, Colorado and in 2008, Miller opened a solo private medical practice located in Craig, Colorado. The legal name of his business was DODXRX, doing business as High Country Medical.

In September 2009, the State of Colorado Board of Medical Examiners (“Board”) entered a Stipulation and Final Agency Order in which the Board issued a Letter of Admonition against Miller based upon findings he mis-prescribed neuropsychiatric medications to certain patients. The Board ordered Miller, among other things, to attend a continuing medical education course “in the area of prescribing” and provide proof of completion of such a course. In March of 2011, Miller sent a letter to the Board acknowledging completion of the ordered course.

Approximately between May 2008 and September 2012, Miller executed and attempted to execute a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs, namely Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial health care plans. Particularly, Miller prescribed controlled substances to patients without determining a sufficient medical necessity for the prescription of controlled substances; prescribed controlled substances to patients in a manner which was inconsistent with the usual course of professional practice and for other than legitimate medical purpose; and prescribed pharmaceuticals to patients for whom the prescription was not intended, and directed the persons to whom he prescribed the pharmaceuticals to give the prescription to third parties.

Furthermore, Miller prescribed controlled substances in quantities and dosages that would cause patients to abuse, misuse, and become addicted to the controlled substances. He also pre-signed prescriptions and allowed office employees to distribute controlled substance prescriptions to patients in his absence and without a doctor’s examination of the patient. According to the indictment, in August of 2010, Miller dispensed and distributed to a patient hydrocodone (Schedule III controlled substance), alprazolam and clonazepam, (both Schedule IV controlled substances) which resulted in the death of the patient. The indictment also alleges that in May 2012, Miller dispensed and distributed to a patient hydrocodone (Schedule III controlled substance), and diazepam (a Schedule IV controlled substance) which also resulted in death.

“Defrauding our health care system, causing the cost of care to increase is one thing,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “It is quite another when a doctor over prescribes prescription medication that, as alleged in this case, causes patients to be addicted, and in two cases here, die.”

"Dr. Joel E. Miller's over prescribing and distribution of licit drugs is no different than the drug traffickers that DEA targets," said Drug Enforcement Administration Denver Special Agent in Charge Barbra Roach. "Dr. Miller destroyed the life of at least two patients, has hurt many other patients and disguised his drug dealing by conducting those activities in his professional office and while wearing a doctor's coat. DEA will continue to target "drug dealers" no matter their social or professional status."

"Crimes like this are motivated purely by greed and the patients are the real victims in this case," said Stephen Boyd, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. "Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem and we are committed to investigate along with our law enforcement partners those individuals who are responsible for the illegal distribution of prescription medicine."

“Many people in Moffat County were directly negatively affected by the actions of Dr. Miller,” said Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz. “Some in our community were caused great harm and pain, which will never go away for those families. Hopefully this arrest and indictment will bring some closure to those affected by his actions.”

Miller was charged with thirty four counts as follows; one count of health care fraud with death resulting, which carries a penalty of life in prison, and up to a $250,000 fine; eight counts of health care fraud, which carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 per count; ten counts of money laundering, which carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved, per count; two counts of dispensing of controlled substances resulting in death, which carries a penalty of not less than 20 years, and up to life in federal prison, and up to a $1,000,000 fine; seven counts of dispensing of controlled substances, which carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $1,000,000 fine; dispensing of controlled substances, which carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine; one count of dispensing a controlled substance, which carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $500,000 fine; and one count of furnishing false and fraudulent material information, which carries a penalty of not more than 4 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. The indictment also includes an asset forfeiture allegation.


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