May 2014

May 22, 2014 — An owner and operator of community mental health centers in Baton Rouge as well as a patient recruiter for a related facility in Houston were convicted for their roles in a $258M Medicare fraud scheme involving three facilities that filed fraudulent claims for psychiatric services that were unnecessary or never actually provided.  The ongoing investigation into these three community mental health centers — Shifa Community Mental Health Center, Serenity Center and Shifa Community Mental Health Center — has so far resulted in the convictions of 17 employees of these facilities, including therapists, marketers, administrators, owners and the medical director.  DOJ

May 22, 2014 — Zahir Yousafzai, the co-owner or operator of four Detroit-area home health agencies involved in a $13.8M Medicare fraud scheme was sentenced to serve 72 months in prison and pay $4.1M in restitution.  According to court records, Yousafzai and his co-conspirators paid and directed the payment of various medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, to create fictitious patient files to document purported home health services that were never provided.  The healthcare companies involved included First Care Home Health Care, Moonlite Home Care, Physicians Choice Home Health Care and Quantum Home Care.  DOJ

May 20, 2014 — The DOJ announced it will require ConAgra Foods, Cargill, CHS Inc., and Horizon Milling to divest four competitively significant flour mills in order to proceed with the formation of Ardent Mills, a flour milling joint venture.  The government said the divestitures are necessary to preserve flour milling competition in four regions of the country encompassing large cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis and the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, resulting in more competitive prices for wheat flour purchasers and ultimately lower prices for consumers who purchase wheat flour-based products, such as bread, cookies and crackers.  DOJ

May 19, 2014 — Credit Suisse pled guilty to criminal charges of conspiring to help thousands of US taxpayers evade taxes and agreed to pay fines and restitution amounting to $2.6 billion.  It is the first big bank to plead guilty to illegal activity since Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1989.  Whistleblower Insider

May 19, 2014 — Todd Farha, former CEO of WellCare, an operator of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) in several states, was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison for defrauding the Florida Medicaid program.  According to court records and evidence at trial, Farha and others orchestrated a scheme to defraud the Florida Medicaid program from the summer of 2003 through the fall of 2007 by making fraudulent statements relating to expenditures for behavioral health care services.  Under a prior settlement with the government, WellCare was required to pay $80M in restitution and forfeitures.  In a related civil qui tam case filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, Wellcare also paid $137.5M in civil fines and penalties.  DOJ