The United States Attorney’s Office has accused a local physician of false cancer diagnosis of patients to “increase his income and fund his lavish lifestyle.” The agency has used this case as an example of its efforts to crackdown on cases of Medicare fraud and “pursue criminals masquerading as legitimate physicians, weed them out and seek the harshest possible punishment.”
A complex case: FBI also involved.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also involved in this case. This is not typical for a Medicare fraud case. In this instance, the increased involvement is due to additional allegations. The physician also faces charges for money laundering.
Money laundering is, essentially, the movement of money to remove it from an original, criminal source. The FBI claims the physician invested in real estate opportunities in the United States and Mexico. These properties were then used to provide additional capital because he allegedly converted them into rental properties.
Two different criminal allegations: What types of penalties could result?
Medicare fraud cases generally result in monetary fines and, depending on the details of the allegations, can lead to prison time. Money laundering is a serious white-collar crime and can come with both jail time and monetary fines. In this case, the agency has sought the physician forfeit his vehicles and real estate property.
The FBI is continuing its investigation. It has called for patients that sought treatment from the physician in question to come forward. It appears the agency will review the health status of these patients, potentially looking to gather evidence as to if the patients needed treatment. If not, the treatment may have resulted in harm to the patient. If so, the physician could face additional criminal charges.
The United States Attorney’s Office takes allegations of Medicare fraud seriously. Such allegations can lead to an investigation and potential charges. Defenses are available. Contact an attorney if you find yourself or your group practice the subject of such an investigation.