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April 25, 2023

Attorneys George Constantine and Marc Elefant, and orthopedic surgeon Andrew Dowd, were sentenced to prison for their $31 million trip-and-fall fraud scheme. Constantine (102 months), Elefant (24 months), and Dowd (102 months) recruited participants to stage falls or falsely claim to have fallen and would then file fraudulent suits against the businesses and insurance companies where the “falls” allegedly occurred. In addition to staging the accidents and then filing suit, Constantine and Elefant would require the “victims” to receive ongoing chiropractic and medical treatment from certain designated chiropractors and doctors—including Dowd. Dowd performed nearly 300 medically unnecessary surgeries on patient-clients, at the behest of Constantine and Elefant, who then used the surgeries to boost the value of any potential settlement. In addition to prison time, they will forfeit over $8 million acquired via their fraud. DOJ

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

April 14, 2023

Nine defendants will spend a combined 70 years in prison for their respective roles in a $126 million compounding fraud scheme. The co-conspirators defrauded the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and TRICARE by submitting false claims and paying kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians for prescribing certain medications, based not on medical necessity but instead on the drugs’ hefty reimbursement rates. The patients received the compounded medications via mail, despite never requesting, wanting, or needing them. DOJ

April 4, 2023

From 2014 to 2022, medical testing company Genotox Laboratories Ltd. paid kickbacks to their “1099” representatives, calculated as a percentage of the revenue Genotox received from Medicare, the Railroad Retirement Board, and TRICARE billings for testing orders facilitated or arranged for by these representatives. In addition to the kickbacks, Genotox also allowed providers to create “custom profiles” to pre-select the tests to order for their patients, often resulting in medically unnecessary testing, such as definitive drug testing for 22 or more drug classes. Genotox will pay $5.9 million, and Genotox’s former billing manager—the whistleblower in this qui tam action—will receive approximately $1 million. DOJ

February 7, 2023

A startup that operates as an online pharmacy for birth control and contraceptives has agreed to pay $15 million to settle whistleblower claims of defrauding California’s Medicaid program of millions of dollars.  In violation of the state False Claims Act, The Pill Club allegedly billed for ineligible services, services not rendered, and enormous quantities of expensive products not ordered by customers.  Investigators found that even in cases where customers asked to stop receiving those products, the company continued to dispense enormous quantities and bill the government for them.  CA AG

February 7, 2023

United Energy Workers Healthcare, Corp., which provides home health services in multiple states, has paid $9 million to resolve allegations of submitting false claims to the U.S. Department of Labor on behalf of beneficiaries of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).  Multiple whistleblowers alleged that between 2013 and 2021, the defendant and related entities billed for services that were either not covered under EEOICPA program rules, not medically necessary, not provided by appropriately licensed individuals, or not provided entirely.  USAO SDOH

January 30, 2023

A doctor in Michigan who was involved in a $250 million fraud scheme against Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurers, has been sentenced to 16.5 years in prison.  Along with 21 co-conspirators, Dr. Francisco Patino took advantage of patients suffering from addiction by forcing them to receive medically unnecessary, painful, but lucrative spinal injections in exchange for opioid prescriptions.  Additionally, Patino knowingly violated the Anti-Kickback and Stark laws by receiving kickbacks from a laboratory in exchange for sending patient samples to that lab.  All told, Patino submitted more claims to Medicare for spinal injections than any other provider in the country between 2012 and 2017, prescribed more Oxycodone than any other provider in Michigan in 2016 and 2017, and was personally responsible for $120 million of the $250 million in false claims billed to insurers.  DOJ

January 9, 2023

Doctor Aarti Pandya and her practice, Aarti D. Pandya, M.D. P.C., have agreed to pay $1.8 million to resolve a whistleblower suit that alleged they billed federal healthcare programs for medically unnecessary cataract surgeries and diagnostic tests, incomplete or worthless tests, and office visits that failed to provide the level of service claimed.  The allegations were brought in a 2013 qui tam suit by former employee Laura Dildine, which the government intervened on in 2018. In addition to the false claims listed above, Pandya also allegedly falsely diagnosed patients with glaucoma in order to justify claims for reimbursement.  USAO SDGA

December 22, 2022

New York doctor David DiMarco and his companies, D. B. DiMarco, M.D., P.C. and DiMarco Vein Centers LLC, has agreed to pay $2 million to New York’s Medicaid program and withdraw from providing services to it after an investigation found DiMarco submitted false claims between 2015 and 2021.  According to the NY AG’s office, DiMarco submitted more than a thousand claims for procedures without sufficient documentation showing the procedures performed or their medical necessity.  AG NY
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