Dallas Doctors Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison Over Healthcare Fraud Scheme
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the case. The United States Health & Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General also conducted its own investigation. The case was prosecuted by United States Assistant Attorneys Donna Strittmatter Max and Marty Basu.
Dr. Bradley Harris admitted to stealing millions of dollars
The former CEO of the hospice company Novus Health Services, Inc., pled guilty to stealing millions of dollars. He faces up to 14 years in federal prison. The charges stem from his involvement in a fraud scheme involving Medicare and Medicaid. The scheme spanned 2012-2016, and was uncovered by a grand jury in 2017. A judge has already sentenced several former employees to prison and fines.
In July 2014, Harris and his wife began working to get around Medicare’s hospice cap by signing a contract with a hospice company that would provide lab services and home health visits. The two companies then contacted their patients, asking them to sign up for Novus hospice services.
Dr. Anthony C. Neal sentenced to one year
Dr. Anthony C. Neal, a Dallas-area neurosurgeon, has been sentenced to one year in prison for participating in a $2.8 million healthcare fraud scheme. The scheme involved falsely billing insurance companies for unnecessary diagnostic tests and higher-priced surgeries. In addition, Neal and his father double-billed insurance companies. The judge said that the actions were a direct result of Dr. Neal’s “destructive behavior and instability.”
Neal’s father was also sentenced to one year in prison. The two men cheated the IRS out of $817,378 in income taxes from 2009 to 2014. Using a complex scheme, the defendant and his father diverted most of the revenue from their practice to a straw company. They then used the money to pay for almost $3 million in personal expenses without reporting the income to the IRS. The money they received from their fake businesses included a multi-million dollar home for the defendant and his wife.
Dr. Daniel Hurt agrees to pay $128 million in restitution
In a plea agreement, Dr. Daniel Hurt has agreed to pay $128 million in restitution to the government. He and his associates admitted that they conducted Medicare fraud by billing for unnecessary tests and medications. This included obtaining cheek swab samples from Medicare beneficiaries through mail marketing and “health fairs” around the country. He also admitted to paying kickbacks to doctors that performed unnecessary testing.
According to court documents, Hurt pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States. He is currently free on a $350,000 personal surety bond pending his sentencing. He was also charged in New Jersey and Pittsburgh with similar schemes. Federal prosecutors say he billed Medicare for $25 million in fraudulent claims for unnecessary cancer genome screenings.
Dr. Carlos Mazariegos pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud
In a court hearing held earlier this week, Dr. Carlos Mazariegos and other individuals were found guilty of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. The men and their associates were accused of receiving kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies and then dispensing the fraudulent prescriptions. The three men have admitted to participating in the scheme and will be sentenced in June. The case stems from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Mazariegos was a physician licensed in Puerto Rico who practiced medicine in Miami. He allegedly participated in a $20 million health care fraud scheme involving false claims to Medicare and illegal distribution of controlled substances. The pharmacy that he ran also received a hefty fine from the federal government, and he was ordered to spend six months in home confinement. He was also banned from working while on probation.
Dr. Daniel K. Leong sentenced to 48 months in prison
A Dallas doctor has been sentenced to 48 months in prison for his involvement in a healthcare fraud scheme. Leong, who is the owner of a medical center on Martin Luther King Boulevard, admitted to conspiring with another doctor to provide unnecessary medical services and order diagnostic tests that were not medically necessary. He must also pay restitution of $865,000 to victims.
The investigation revealed that Leong and his physician’s assistant, John Doe, used pre-signed prescriptions and ordered medical tests without proper training. The physicians and their assistants were caught when their patients’ insurance claims inflated. After the investigation was conducted, the assistant pleaded guilty and was put on probation for three years.