NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 affirmed the allowance of expert testimony in a mortgage fraud case that resulted in a nearly $300 million judgment against a businessman and his companies after finding that the trial judge properly vetted the experts’ opinions and sufficiently explained his rationale for doing so (United States v. Jim C. Hodge, et al., No. 17-20720, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23715).
ATLANTA — A man pleaded guilty on Aug. 9 in Georgia federal court to one count of health care fraud for obtaining $300,000 from the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (COPERA) by submitting false claims for reimbursement for prescription medications he did not receive or that were more expensive than the medications he was receiving (United States v. Michael Bang, No. 18cr433, N.D. Ga.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Aug. 8 transferred to New Jersey federal court a lawsuit brought by the Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) against a New Jersey-based ambulatory care center, its management company and three doctors over a fraudulent billing scheme for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, ruling that New Jersey is a more appropriate forum because the care center submitted the bills to the insurer (Government Employees Insurance Company v. Daniel J. Yoo, M.D., et al., No. 18-cv-5735, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134026).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 8 upheld a federal judge in Texas’ ruling denying an insurance fraud defendant’s request for a good faith jury instruction, holding that the defendant failed to show that the omission of a jury instruction impaired his good faith defense (United States v. David Roy Williams, No. 18-11184, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23848).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana on Aug. 6 denied an insurance agency’s motion for summary judgment on claims brought by a couple claiming that it should indemnify them for damages from a fire that destroyed their home, finding that genuine disputes exist as to whether the agency breached its duty to procure a policy that would have covered the home (GeoVera Specialty Insurance Co. v. Mariette Joachin, et al., No. 18-7577, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131033).
ST. LOUIS — Physical testing at the scene of a fire that destroyed a building was not required for an insurer’s expert witnesses to opine on when the blaze started, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of appeals ruled Aug. 1 in affirming denial of a new trial for a Missouri couple (Allstate Indemnity Company v. Joseph Dixon, et al., No. 18-1948, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23021).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana appeals panel on July 31 vacated a ruling quashing a bill of information charging four individuals with insurance fraud, finding that the allegations in the document were not deficient and that the court had jurisdiction over the suit (State of Louisiana v. Colleen Brown, et al., No. 2019-KA-0281, La. App., 4th Cir., 2019 La. App. LEXIS 1327).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California appeals panel on July 23 affirmed a trial court judge’s ruling ordering a man convicted on 33 counts of insurance premium fraud to pay $13.4 million in restitution, finding that the judge properly calculated the amount based on information presented by the defendant’s expert (People v. Michael Vincent Petronella, No. G054524, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 3rd Div., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4916).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on July 29 denied a workers’ compensation insurance provider’s motion for partial summary judgment on its claim that a remodeling company violated the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud statute, ruling that genuine disputes exist as to whether the company intended to defraud the insurer (American Builders Insurance Co. v. Custom Installations Contracting Services Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-295, W.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125373).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on July 24 remanded a lawsuit accusing AbbVie Inc. of violating California’s Insurance Fraud Prevention Act when marketing Humira by paying kickbacks to doctors who prescribed the autoimmune disorder treatment, finding that the state is a real party in interest (California ex rel. Lazaro Suarez v. AbbVie Inc., No. 18-cv-06392-JD, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124463).
NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of Justice announced that a federal judge in New York on July 19 sentenced a podiatrist who pleaded guilty to health care fraud to one year and one day in prison for his role in a scheme that involved fraudulently billing insurance companies for services that were never performed (United States v. Hal Abrahamson, No. 18-cr-314, E.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 19 upheld the dismissal of a False Claims Act (FCA) suit brought by a dentist and an office employee accusing a dental services practice of submitting false bills to Medicare, ruling that a federal judge in Texas did not err when dismissing their suit after they filed to timely amend their action to include federal retaliation claims under the act (United States, ex rel. Philip M. Lin, et al. v. NCDR LLC, et al., No. 18-50653, 5th Cir.).
CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 18 affirmed a chiropractor’s five-year prison sentence for submitting fraudulent bills to Medicare and private insurers for deceased patients or treatments that were never provided, finding that the government did not err when finding that the man’s scheme resulted in an amount of loss of $4 million (United States v. Henry Posada, No. 18-1586, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21299).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal jury in Alabama on July 16 unanimously found that a doctor and nurse were guilty of submitting $7.8 million in bills for Medicare and private insurance companies for prescriptions for opioids and allergy immunotherapy treatments that were medically unnecessary (United States v. Patrick Emeka Ifediba, et al., No. 18-cr-0103-RDP-JEO, N.D. Ala.).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on July 15 granted in part a motion to exclude testimony from an insurance fraud defendant’s expert regarding state-specific standards on the prescribing of opioids, finding that the doctor had not reviewed the information when forming his opinion (United States v. Patrick Emeka Ifediba, et al., No. 18-cr-0103-RDP-JEO, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116826).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A federal judge in Connecticut on July 12 sentenced a woman to seven months in prison and ordered her to pay $1.3 million in restitution after she pleaded guilty for her role in a scheme to submit fraudulent bills to Medicaid for psychotherapy services that were never provided using the stolen identities of Medicaid beneficiaries (United States v. Nikkita Chesney, No. 18cr257, D. Conn.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A California appeals panel on July 11 upheld a chiropractor’s conviction and sentence for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud for his role in a scheme that involved the submission of fraudulent bills for workers’ compensation benefits that were prepared pursuant to a predetermined protocol that included incorrect coding for treatments that were not rendered or medically necessary (People v. Dolphus Dwayne Pierce II, No. F074602, Calif. App., 5th Dist., 2019 Calif. Unpub. LEXIS 4639).
HOUSTON — A Texas appeals court panel on July 9 upheld a man’s conviction for insurance fraud after finding that his insurer was properly named in his indictment and that any variations in the company’s name in evidence that was presented during trial were immaterial (Mohamed Saleh Awad v. Texas, No. 14-18-00250-CR, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5687).
DETROIT — A federal magistrate judge in Michigan on July 2 ordered a nonparty attorney accused of referring individuals injured in automobile accidents to clinics that allegedly submitted fraudulent bills to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. to produce a majority of the records the insurer requested in a subpoena, holding that evidence presented by the company could support the inference that he is the center of the scheme (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Elite Health Centers Inc., et al., No. 16cv13040, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110767).
MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on June 11 denied motions to dismiss filed by two doctors and two medical clinics accused by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. (State Farm) of engaging in a scheme to submit fraudulent claims for personal injury benefits, holding that the insurer’s allegations satisfy the heightened pleading requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) and that the company’s amended complaint is not a shotgun pleading (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al. v. Health and Wellness Services Inc., et al., No. 18-21325-Civ-Scola, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105269).