When it comes to Medicare fraud, an illegal scheme usually begins with the need for qualified beneficiaries. There are a variety of methods for wooing Medicare beneficiaries to participate, and as a Department of Justice press release states, one Detroit doctor chose to prescribe controlled substances to carry out his part of a $7 million scam.
The press release states that the doctor agreed to refer Medicare beneficiaries to multiple home health care agencies in the Detroit area for medically unnecessary services. He signed medical documents, including home health care certifications and care plans that falsely certified Medicare beneficiaries to receive home health care services. (He was fully aware that the falsified documents would be used by his co-conspirators to support the false Medicare claims.) In exchange for his signature, the home health care agency owners paid him with cash and through other forms of kickbacks.
Court documents show that the doctor lured Medicare beneficiaries to his practice through patient recruiters, who were then paid in cash for their “delivery” services. Once the patients were under his care, the doctor would bill Medicare for medically unnecessary controlled substance prescriptions, home health care and physician services. Bogus claims totaled more than $6 million and approximately $5.5 million in fraudulent claims were paid out as a result.
The 66-year-old doctor pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He is awaiting sentencing for his part in the scam to bilk the government benefits program.
Everyone has a weak spot, and this doctor knew what would work for his scam. Most fraudsters also have multiple vulnerabilities that cause them to commit illegal acts. In this case, the doctor was wooed by the love of cold hard cash. Unfortunately for him, there is a good chance that selfishness and greed will land him behind bars.