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Scoundrel Spotlight — Chang Goo Yoon

Posted  May 29, 2024

This week’s Scoundrel in the Spotlight is Chang Goo Yoon, the former owner of several physical therapy clinics in the Greater Boston area. He was indicted in May 2021 and convicted in January 2024 of healthcare fraud following a seven-day jury trial. Yesterday (May 28), U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Yoon to 27 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Judge Talwani also ordered Yoon to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later date.  

The sentence flows from Yoon billing patients for non-existent physical therapy appointments, including approximately $150,000 in claims billed on dates when Yoon was traveling in South Korea, Los Angeles, and Toronto. He also billed thousands of dollars in claims on dates when he was gambling at various casinos up and down the East Coast. He likewise submitted thousands in physical therapy claims for himself after three automobile accidents, including claims where he identified himself as both the patient and the servicing physical therapist. In total, the Court found Yoon falsely billed for more than $1 million, recovering more than $300,000 in illicit proceeds.

Upon his conviction, the government did not mince words in condemning Yoon’s fraudulent activity and the resulting public harm.  As Acting United States Attorney Joshua Levy so succinctly put it:

This was about stealing and greed, pure and simple. Mr. Yoon exploited our healthcare system, and billed for fictitious treatments on dates that he was traveling abroad or holed up in a casino. This conduct was as brazen as it was illegal. Health care fraud is not a victimless crime. We all pay higher costs because of these types of fraudulent scams. Our office will continue to relentlessly pursue fraudsters and hold them accountable.

He added after yesterday’s sentencing that it “should send a strong message to others who seek to defraud the system that they will be identified, prosecuted and held accountable.” Reinforcing the government’s commitment to go after individual healthcare professionals engaged in fraud, Special FBI Agent Jodi Cohen stressed how “the FBI and our partners are committed to bringing medical professionals like Chang Goo Yoon, who choose to betray their oath and get involved in fraud, to justice.”

The False Claims Act is the government’s primary tool for going after those who defraud the government, like defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. One of the unique features of the False Claims Act is permitting private individuals to file civil lawsuits on the government’s behalf and in return receive up to 30 percent of any government recovery. It is not clear whether Yoon’s scheme involved Medicare fraud or whether a whistleblower was involved in exposing Yoon’s misconduct. But generally, whistleblowers are responsible for initiating the vast majority of False Claims Act cases, especially when it comes to healthcare fraud. 

If you think might have information relating to possible healthcare fraud and would like to speak to an experienced member of the Constantine Cannon whistleblower lawyer team, please feel free to contact us for a free and confidential consult.