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April 4, 2019

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Jazz), Lundbeck LLC (Lundbeck), and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Alexion) will pay a total of $122.6 million to settle allegations they violated the False Claims Act by having improper kickback schemes and for illegally paying Medicare and Civilian Health and Medical Program (ChampVA) copays for their own products. The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits a pharmaceutical company from offering or paying, directly or indirectly, any remuneration — which includes money or any other thing of value — to induce Medicare or ChampVA patients to purchase the company’s drugs. This prohibition extends to the payment of patients’ copay obligations. Under the terms of the settlement, Jazz agreed to pay $57 million, Lundbeck agreed to pay $52.6 million, and Alexion will be paying $13 million. DOJ  

April 2, 2019

Paul Emordi, of Collin County, Texas, was sentenced to prison for 60 months for his part in a $3.7 million health care scheme involving Medicare. Emordi and Celestine “Tony” Okwilagwe, owners and operators of Elder Care, along with Adetutu Etti, the administrator of Elder Care, were convicted on counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and on counts of false statements in connection with a health care benefit program. Evidence in the investigation also shows that the defendants submitted fake and fraudulent bills to Medicare for providing services that were not necessary. DOJ

March 29, 2019

CareWell Urgent Care of Rhode Island, P.C., and Urgent Care Centers of New England Inc. have agreed to pay $2 million to settle a qui tam suit brought on by a former employee, Aileen Cartier. In violation of the False Claims Act, CareWell had falsely inflated the level of services provided and failed to identify service providers in claims submitted to Medicare, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Medicaid, and the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (GIC) between 2013 to 2018. For bringing on the suit, Cartier will receive a 17% relator's share. USAO MA

March 21, 2019

Nonprofit healthcare organization MedStar Health Inc. has agreed to pay $35 million to the United States to settle two qui tam lawsuits alleging violations of the False Claims Act at two of its hospitals in Baltimore. According to the first complaint, filed by three cardiac surgeons, MedStar paid illegal remuneration to MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates (MACVA) to induce referrals of Medicare patients. The second complaint, filed by former patients, alleged that while employed by MedStar, former MACVA employee Dr. John Wang engaged in a pattern of performing and billing for medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures. DOJ

March 19, 2019

Ademola O. Adebayo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a huge $100 million compounding pharmacy scheme that defrauded private insurance companies, Medicare and TRICARE. Adebayo was also ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution and $1.4 million in forfeiture, and properties, cars and a yacht have been sequestered as part of the sentencing. After a four-day trial on January 11, Adebayo was convicted on counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Eight other defendants have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme. DOJ

March 6, 2019

A Texas woman has been sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $15 million for her role in a $50 million scheme involving healthcare fraud and money laundering. Daniela Gozes-Wagner was accused of running 28 fake medical testing facilities from 2009, and billing Medicare and Medicaid for tests that were not performed or medically necessary. As part of the scheme, she employed personnel to answer phones and prevent inspectors from entering "testing facilities" that were virtually empty. USAO SDTX

February 27, 2019

A Florida-based home health agency owner, Alexander Ros Lazo, has been sentenced to over 7 years in prison and ordered to pay $8.6 million in restitution for defrauding Medicare. In exchange for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries to his company, T.L.C. Health Services, Dos Lazo paid kickbacks to co-conspirators and caused his co-conspirators to submit billing for physical therapy services performed by an unlicensed practitioner, Misleady Ibarra. Along with Ros Lazo. Ibarra has been sentenced to 2 years in prison; the amount she will pay in restitution is still to be determined. DOJ

February 27, 2019

Tennessee-based skilled nursing facility chain Vanguard Healthcare LLC, along with former executives William Orand and Mark Miller, have agreed to pay upward of $18 million to resolve False Claims allegations of billing Medicare and Medicaid for worthless and "grossly substandard nursing home services." According to press releases, five facilities in the Vanguard network allegedly submitted false claims for reimbursement, despite a litany of failures, including forging nurse and physician signatures, using unnecessary physical restraints on residents, failing to prevent pressure ulcers, failing to provide wound care as ordered, failing to provide standard infection control, failing to administer medications as prescribed, and failing to meet basic nutrition and hygiene requirements. The case is considered the largest case of fraud involving worthless services in state history. DOJ; USAO MDTN

February 25, 2019

A Southern California pharmacy owner has been ordered to pay $1.5 million to Medicare after her conviction for one count of healthcare fraud and two counts of wire fraud. Tamar Tatarian, the owner of Akhtamar Phamarcy, was recently convicted of submitting false claims for prescription drugs never ordered from wholesalers or dispensed to beneficiaries. DOJ

February 13, 2019

Ashraf Hasan-Hafez and Ilya Kogan have been sentenced to over three years in prison for their participation in a scheme that defrauded Medicare and New York State Medicaid out of $1.3M dollars. Hasan-Hafez, the owner of a physical therapy practice, and Kogan, the owner of an acupuncture company, fraudulently submitted bills for services that were not rendered, or for services performed by unlicensed individuals. In addition to jail time, Hasan-Hafez and Kogan have been ordered to forfeit $1,297,000 in restitution to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  DOJ    
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