CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 26 affirmed a doctor’s 19-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, holding that his counsel did not commit a prejudicial error when failing to present evidence that he was in a coma for two months during 2012 and unable to allegedly prescribe the drugs illegally (United States v. Adelfo Pamatmat, No. 17-1611, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33113).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appellate panel on Nov. 29 upheld a man’s sentence of one year in prison and restitution of $10,000 after pleading guilty to one count of insurance fraud, finding that he failed to obtain a probable cause certificate from the trial court (People v. Glenn Josue Barrera-Izaba, No. A151037, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8054).
TULSA, Okla. — The owner of a number of pharmacies and two physicians were indicted in Oklahoma federal court on Dec. 7 for engaging in a scheme involving the payment of illegal kickbacks to physicians who submitted prescriptions for compounded drugs that were later billed to federal health care programs and private insurers for reimbursement (United States v. Christopher P. Parks, et al., No. 18cr251, N.D. Okla.).
CHICAGO — A doctor who once lived in Illinois was indicted in Illinois federal court Dec. 9 on six counts of health care fraud for submitting bills to Medicare for allergy tests he knew were medically unnecessary (United States v. Omar Garcia, No. 18cr833, N.D. Ill.).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A 2-1 panel of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals on Dec. 7 found that a man’s conviction for insurance fraud should be vacated because the evidence presented during trial did not establish that he filed a claim with his insurer and because he did not comply with the terms of the policy by submitting a proof of loss statement (State of Tennessee v. Reuben Eugene Mitchell, No. E2017-01739-CCA-R3-CD, Tenn. App., 2018 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 888).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Texas did not err when sentencing a law office manager convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 30 counts of mail fraud as part of his scheme to defraud insurance companies by operating a sham chiropractic clinic to 168 months in prison, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 16, ruling that the evidence sufficiently showed that the defendant organized the plan and actively recruited individuals to participate (United States v. Earlie Dickerson, Nos. 17-20270, 17-20161, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32520).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Nov. 26 stayed 2,300 cases in state court and 20 arbitration proceedings initiated by medical providers and medical device suppliers of a Brooklyn, N.Y., clinic that are seeking $3.2 million worth of claims for reimbursement under the state’s no-fault benefits program from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., finding that the court had the authority to do so under the in aid of jurisdiction exception to the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al. v. Jules Parisien, M.D., et al., No. 18-CV-289, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199566).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 14 affirmed a man’s convictions for charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as part of a larger scheme to defraud insurance companies by filing claims for automobile accidents that never occurred, ruling that a federal judge in Texas did not err when denying his motion to vacate the sentence and hold an evidentiary hearing regarding whether the government threatened to charge his mother with perjury (United States v. Derrick L. Jimerson, No. 16-41262, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32218).
DETROIT — Allstate Insurance Co. and two of its affiliates on Nov. 8 sued two chiropractors and a number of clinics in a Michigan federal court, claiming that they engaged in a scheme to submit fraudulent bills for benefits under Michigan’s No-Fault Act that were medically unnecessary or not performed (Allstate Insurance Co., et al. v. Derek L. Bittner D.C., et al., No. 18-13484, E.D. Mich.).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The U.S. government in a Nov. 8 brief says it does not object to a farmer’s motion in a Kentucky federal court to continue trial to a later date over accusations that he submitted false reports regarding federally reinsured crop insurance policies but deferred to the court’s “sound judgment” (United States v. Christopher G. Hickerson, No. 18-cr-00111, E.D. Ky.).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Nov. 9 upheld a trial court judge’s ruling dismissing cross-claims brought by a lawyer accused of insurance fraud, finding that an insurance company’s subpoenas seeking the attorney’s deposition in three unrelated personal injury actions did not constitute an abuse of process under the state’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute or constitute an unfair business practice in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 (Dennis Gerald Geselowitz v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. B278637, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 3rd Div., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7605).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Nov. 9 denied a motion to suppress filed by a man accused of participating in a health care fraud scheme, finding that search warrants executed for three email accounts were not overbroad and that the man had no reasonable expectation of privacy for the accounts (United States v. Paul J. Mathieu, et al., No. 16 cr 763, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192281).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Citing a “large volume of discovery,” a farmer accused by the U.S. government of submitting false reports regarding federally reinsured crop insurance policies on Nov. 2 asked a Kentucky federal court to continue trial to sometime after January (United States v. Christopher G. Hickerson, No. 18-cr-00111, E.D. Ky.).
NEW YORK — An ophthalmologist and his practice on Nov. 1 agreed to pay $2 million to the federal government to resolve claims brought in New York federal court that he violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for testing that was done so poorly that it lacked any diagnostic value (United States v. Metropolitan Retina Associates Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-9146, S.D. N.Y.).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The U.S. government in a Nov. 1 indictment filed in a Kentucky federal court accuses a farmer of fraudulently submitting statements to a government agency that reinsures his crops (United States v. Keith Foley, No. 18-cr-00154, E.D. Ky.).
LONDON, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky on Nov. 1 sentenced a cardiologist to 42 months in prison and ordered him to pay a $50,000 fine and pay $257,515 in restitution to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers after he was found guilty of health care fraud for implanting pacemakers in patients who did not need them (United States v. Anis Chalhoub, M.D., No. 16-cr-00023-GFHT-HAI, E.D. Ky.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on Oct. 29 convicted a nurse practitioner on charges of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to unlawfully sell and distribute controlled substances and unlawfully selling and distributing controlled substances after finding that she falsified medical records to support services that were not provided and forged a physician’s signature to prescribe fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprazolam to patients (United States v. Lillian Akwuba, et al., No. 17-cr-511, M.D. Ala.).
DALLAS — Two owners of a home health care agency and two of its employees were convicted Oct. 29 by a federal jury in Texas for their roles in a $3.7 million fraud scheme involving the submission of claims to Medicare even though the owners had previously been excluded from participating in federal health care programs (United States v. Celestine Okwilagwe, et al., No. 16cr240, N.D. Texas).
DETROIT — Evidence from a defendant’s cell phone documenting his role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits should not be suppressed, a federal judge in Michigan ruled Oct. 29, finding that a private investigator for an insurance company was not acting as a government agent when viewing the contents of the phone (United States v. Damon Drekarr Kemp, No. 18-20043, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184341).
NEWARK, N.J. — An insurer accusing a medical clinic of submitting fraudulent no-fault insurance claims can subpoena two banks the clinic does business with for records pertaining to accounts it holds because the information is relevant, a federal magistrate judge in New Jersey ruled Oct. 23 in denying the clinic’s motion to quash (Government Employees Insurance Co., et al. v. Stefan Trnovski, M.D., et al., No. 16-4662, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182375).