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May 11, 2023

Dutch medical supplier Koninklijke Philips N.V. has agreed to pay $62 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act while selling medical equipment to hospitals in China.  A SEC investigation found that Philips’ Chinese subsidiaries gave distributors special pricing discounts that invited excessive funds to be used for improper payments, made such payments to curry favor toward their products, and manipulated the fair bidding process to fake compliance with Chinese laws.  The SEC had previously charged Philips for similar conduct in Poland between 1999 and 2007.  SEC

April 20, 2023

Matthew Taylor Witkowski will spend 60 months in prison for generating and purchasing fraudulent written orders for DME, and then, using his Dominican Republic-based business, marketed and sold those orders to pharmacies and DME suppliers. Witkowski’s fraud resulted in more than $8 million in false claims reimbursements being made by Medicare. Witkowski will forfeit over $4 million and pay restitution of over $8 million to Medicare. SDNY

April 20, 2023

Miami doctors Lawrence Alexander and Dean Zusmer were sentenced to 33 months and 96 months in prison, respectively, for their scheme to defraud Medicare of $31 million. Zusmer, a chiropractor and DME company owner, paid kickbacks to acquire patient referrals and signed doctors’ orders, using overseas call centers to solicit unnecessary prescriptions from patients and telemedicine companies. Alexander, an orthopedic surgeon and co-owner of another DME company, concealed his participation by putting the DME company in the name of one of his family members. The companies received over $15 million from Medicare through their fraud. DOJ

February 13, 2023

Spacelabs Healthcare, LLC has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle claims of violating the False Claims Act by overcharging the Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Defense between 2014 and 2019.  According to a qui tam suit filed by two former Spacelabs employees, Marci Gebhardt and Christopher Kelley, the company agreed to contract clauses in which they would sell patient monitoring equipment to the government at lower rates.  However, Spacelabs then failed to comply when billing the VA and Defense Logistics Agency.  For their role in bringing a successful enforcement action, Gebhardt and Kelley will share in a $437,500 reward.  DOJ

January 20, 2023

DePuy Synthes, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that manufactures medical devices, has agreed to pay $9.75 million to resolve allegations of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.  According to former sales representative Aleksej Gusakovs, DePuy gave a Massachusetts-based orthopedic surgeon thousands of dollars’ worth of free implants and instruments for use in overseas surgeries.  The illegal kickbacks induced the surgeon to use DePuy products in surgeries performed in the United States, and caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare and the Massachusetts Medicaid program.  As the whistleblower in a successful qui tam action, Gusakovs will receive a $1.37 million share of the settlement.  DOJ

December 20, 2022

Cochlear implant manufacturer Advanced Bionics LLC paid $11.4 million to resolve claims brought in a whistleblower action that the company falsely stated that the radio-frequency (RF) emissions generated by some of its cochlear implant processors met international standards when it submitted pre-market approval applications to the FDA.  The company allegedly knew that the devices did not meet standards, and manipulated testing conditions to obtain passing test results.  Whistleblower David Nyberg, a former engineer at Advanced Bionics, will receive a qui tam award of $1.9 million from the federal amount of the settlement.  DOJ; USAO ED PA

December 12, 2022

Medical device manufacturer Coloplast will pay $14.5 million to resolve claims that in its contracts with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs the company overcharged the government and submitted false claims.  Coloplast self-disclosed to the government that in violation of the Trade Agreements Act it misreported country of origin and sold products from non-designated countries, and, in violation of applicable Price Reduction Clauses, failed to provide the government with required discounts.  USAO DC

December 5, 2022

Optical lens manufacturer Essilor Laboratories of America, Inc. will pay $23.8 million to California to resolve allegations that the company violated the state’s Insurance Frauds Prevention Act when it allegedly provided kickbacks and other unlawful incentives to eye care providers in exchange for these providers’ promises to send business to Essilor. The state’s action was initiated by a whistleblower complaint filed by Christie Rudolph, who will receive a whistleblower reward of approximately $11.1 million. (see earlier settlement) CA

November 3, 2022

Titan Medical Compliance, LLC, and its chiropractor owner Timothy Warren, have been ordered to pay over $15 million to resolve claims that they falsely marketed auricular electro-acupuncture devices as FDA-approved and Medicare-reimbursable, when in fact they are not.  The judgment against Warren and Titan is the latest in a federal investigation into the improper billing of these non-surgical devices.  USAO EDPA

October 6, 2022

A man in Missouri who was convicted of committing healthcare fraud through various durable medical equipment companies has been sentenced to 3 years in prison and ordered to repay $7.5 millionJamie McCoy, who owned or operated AE Wellness LLC, Summit Medical Supply, Patriot Medical Supply, and DME Device Co., had worked in conjunction with marketing firms and a telemedicine doctor to cause fraudulent claims derived from illegal kickbacks to be submitted to Medicare and TRICARE.  After the scheme was discovered and McCoy and AE Wellness were suspended from further participation, two of McCoy’s associates opened the other companies to continue the fraud, while concealing McCoy’s role in the operation.  USAO EDMO
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