The manager in charge of multiple medical clinics in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, was found guilty of his role in a nearly $100 million health care kickback and money laundering scheme.
After a two-week trial, the 44-year-old Brooklyn man was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, two counts of money laundering, one count of conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstructing the IRS. Sentencing has been set for April 8, 2020.
The man was said to be the leader of a large scale healthcare kickback and money laundering scheme in which he and his co-conspirators stole tens of millions of dollars from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
According to evidence presented at trial, the man and his co-conspirators operated a series of medical clinics in Brooklyn and Queens over the course of nearly a decade that submitted approximately $96 million in medical claims. The clinics employed doctors, physical and occupational therapists, and other medical professionals who were enrolled in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In return for illegal kickbacks, the man and his co-conspirators referred beneficiaries to these health care providers, who submitted claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, according to court records. The man then laundered a substantial portion of those proceeds through companies he and his co-conspirators controlled, including by cashing checks at several New York City check-cashing businesses; he and his co-conspirators then failed to report that cash income to the IRS. The man used that cash to enrich himself and others and to pay kickbacks to patient recruiters, including ambulette drivers, who, in turn, paid beneficiaries to receive treatment at the defendant’s medical clinics. Evidence established that the man used shell companies and fake invoices to conceal his illegal activities.
More than 25 other individuals have pleaded guilty to or been convicted of participating in the scheme, including physicians, physical and occupational therapists, ambulette drivers, and the owners of several of the sham shell companies used to launder the stolen money.
This case was investigated by the HHS-OIG and IRS-CI, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
If you’re charged with Medicare or any other type of health care fraud, you may face serious penalties imposed by state or federal courts. Our Florida Medicare Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have extensive experience providing criminal defense for anyone charged with crimes related to health care fraud.
At the state and federal level, fraud related to health care and Medicare cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year, which is why government agencies work vigilantly to uncover any schemes. Due to the fact that federal and state authorities are so aggressive about prosecuting cases of perceived fraud relating to health care or Medicare, many innocent people can be caught up in investigations. If you are charged and convicted of health care fraud, you can be subject to serious penalties such as lengthy prison sentences, fines, and restitution.
Medicare fraud convictions require the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual knowingly or willfully submitted a false claim or engaged in kickbacks or health care fraud. However, the prosecution does not have to prove the person had actual knowledge or specific intent to obtain a conviction. A person can actually be convicted if they are found to have acted with blatant disregard of the truth or falsity of the claim.