SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California did not err when refusing to sever charges against two defendants accused of making false statements to a grand jury regarding their roles in a scheme to fraudulently obtain employment and disability insurance benefits, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 17, finding that the defendants were properly joined because the allegations stemmed from the same aspects of the alleged scheme and that there was sufficient evidence to support the convictions (United States v. Jasvir Kaur, et al., Nos. 17-10306, 17-10307, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 29193).
CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 17 overruled a dermatologist’s arguments that his conviction on eight counts of health care fraud and eight counts of making false statements affecting a health care matter should be vacated, finding that the evidence presented by the government supported the jury’s decision and that improper remarks made by the prosecution during closing arguments did not taint the verdict (United States v. Omeed Memar, No. 17-3098, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 29165).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 23 denied a motion to dismiss or transfer a lawsuit accusing a medical billing company of improperly upcoding services for neonatal intensive care to Aetna Inc. and its affiliates, finding that the insurer’s claims were timely and that its filing of a praecipe to issue a writ of summons in state court was sufficient to initiate action under the first-filed rule (Aetna Inc., et al. v. Mednax Inc., et al., No. 18-2217, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181147).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 16 refused to reconsider a Sept. 5 decision to lift the seal on documents in a suit brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act against an insurer accused of submitting fraudulent bills to Medicare and ordered the government to decide within 30 days if it will intervene in the suit (United States of America, ex rel. Jean Brasher v. Pentech Health Inc., No. 13-05745, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177118).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Sept. 27 awarded summary judgment to an insurer, holding that a couple’s failure to disclose on their policy application that they owned an American Mastiff constituted a material misrepresentation that warranted the company’s refusal to provide coverage under a homeowner’s policy (United Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Jeffrey Surprenant, et al., No. 17-cv-96-FL, E.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166240).
FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Florida gynecologist and obstetrician was charged with 26 counts of health care fraud for allegedly billing Medicare for $926,802 in services that were not provided, according to an indictment filed Oct. 4 in Florida federal court (United States of America v. Sheetal Kanar Kumar, No. 18cr14063, S.D. Fla.).
ATLANTA — The chief operating officer and the CEO of a medical clinic on Oct. 12 were charged in Georgia federal court with individual counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud for their roles in a fraudulent billing scheme that resulted in private insurers paying $8.5 million for medical services that were never provided (United States of America v. Shailesh Kothari, et al., No. 18cr395, N.D. Ga.).
DETROIT — A federal magistrate judge in Michigan on Oct. 12 denied a nonparty’s motion to stay discovery and for a protective order in an insurance fraud suit on grounds that the man has not been indicted and that the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into his involvement with the scheme does not overlap with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.’s lawsuit against a number of physicians and medical clinics (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Elite Health Centers Inc., et al., No. 16cv13040, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175603).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Oct. 3 denied a motion to vacate filed by a man who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for illegally staging automobile accidents and directing individuals to visit corrupt medical clinics, finding that he was unable to show that he received ineffective assistance of counsel before, during and after trial (Maxo Jean v. United States, No. 18 Civ. 2888, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171056).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Sept. 26 refused to vacate a man’s 44-month prison sentence for fraudulently obtaining unemployment insurance benefits, finding that the court had jurisdiction over the allegations against him because he used the U.S. Postal Service to receive debit cards with the illegally obtained funds (United States of America v. Grady Whitaker Jr., No. 15-20388, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165093).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A federal judge in Indiana on Sept. 27 denied a man’s oral motion for acquittal raised during his trial on four counts of mail fraud, finding that the evidence presented by the government could lead a rational juror to believe that he had a role in starting two fires at his mobile home to deceive his insurance company (United States v. Michael Thomas, No. 18-cr-045 JD, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166218).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 27 affirmed a pharmacy owner’s 48-month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, finding that a federal judge in Florida did not commit a clear error when applying the sophisticated means and manager/supervisor enhancements (United States v. Pedro Manuel Mangano, No. 18-10123, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27553).
LAS VEGAS — A federal judge in Nevada on Sept. 21 ruled that claims brought by Allstate Insurance Co. against two doctors and their practices for allegedly engaging in a scheme to inflate settlement values by creating false bills for patients who were injured as a result of automobile accidents are not barred by the litigation privilege and witness immunity doctrine, finding that the reports used as part of the scheme are not privileged (Allstate Insurance Co., et al. v. Marjorie Belsky, M.D., et al., No. 15cv2265, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162318).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appeals panel on Sept. 21 affirmed a trial court judge’s ruling that under the Chiropractor Practices Act (CPA), a licensed chiropractor cannot delegate to an unlicensed staff member the supervision of therapeutic exercises for patients covered under the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), finding that the testimony of an expert for State Farm Automobile Insurance Co. sufficiently demonstrated that a licensed chiropractor should be involved in the implementation of the exercises (State Farm Automobile Insurance Co. v. Robert J. Cavoto Jr., et al., No. 2593 EDA 2017, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3523).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Sept. 12 dismissed in part claims brought by a former laboratory director accusing a company of violating the False Claims Act (FCA) and Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) when submitting claims to Medicare for lipid screening tests, finding that he did not sufficiently allege that the company could be liable for self-referrals, charging speaker fees for a doctor and nurse practitioner and submitting claims for medically unnecessary tests (United States, ex rel. Chris Riedel v. Boston Heart Diagnostics Corp., No. 12-1423, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155113).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A podiatrist was sentenced to 28 months in prison by a federal judge in Michigan on Sept. 11 for conducting a $1 million health care fraud scheme that involved submitting bills to Medicare for services that were never provided (United States of America v. Lawrence Young, No. 17cr20240, E.D. Mich.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Sept. 11 sentenced a pharmacist to two years in prison and ordered her to pay $1.1 million in restitution after she pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud for submitting false claims to Medicare, Ohio Medicaid and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for free samples of prescription drugs she received from manufacturers (United States of America v. Maria Mascio, No. 14cr272, S.D. Ohio).
GULFPORT, Miss. — Requests for metadata from State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.’s claims database and for spoliation sanctions sought by a plaintiff in a False Claims Act suit accusing the insurer of submitting false claims for flood damage following Hurricane Katrina were deemed premature by a federal magistrate judge in Mississippi on Sept. 18, after he found that the plaintiff’s request for additional information from the insurer should stem from the claims files it has produced (United States of America, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 06cv433-HSO-RHW, S.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158641).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The U.S. government filed an indictment on Sept. 6 in a Kentucky federal court against a farmer for submitting false reports regarding federally reinsured crop insurance policies (United States of America v. Christopher G. Hickerson, No. 18-cr-00111, E.D. Ky.).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Texas did not abuse her discretion when granting a motion for voluntary dismissal with prejudice filed by relators in a False Claims Act (FCA) suit accusing the owner of a number of allergy centers of submitting false bills to Medicare and dismissing the government without prejudice, finding that the government and the judge properly consented to the dismissal (United States, ex rel. Michael Vaughn, et al. v. United Biologics LLC, No. 17-20389, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25450).