LITTLE ROCK, Ark.— A federal judge in Arkansas awarded summary judgment to a mental health services center and its owners after finding that plaintiffs leading a qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA) failed to present evidence that the owners were in violation of the state’s Medical Corporation Act (MCA), and that any bills submitted by the center and its franchises were fraudulent (United States, ex rel. Jacqueline Clemente, et al. v. Lead Teach Mentor LLC, et al., No. 16CV00875, E.D. Ark., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45786).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on March 18 denied a motion to dismiss Allstate Insurance Co.’s claims for declaratory relief and violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act against four doctors and two clinics accused of submitting fraudulent bills for medical services that were unnecessary and unreasonable, holding that the defendants failed to establish why the court should abstain from jurisdiction (Allstate Insurance Co., et al. v. Orthopedic P.C., et al., No. 18-cv-10193, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43171).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 18 denied a nursing facility’s petition for a writ of certiorari and refused to review a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that revived a woman’s False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit accusing it of submitting fraudulent bills to Medicare on the ground that she sufficiently pleaded materiality and scienter (Brookdale Senior Living Communities Inc. v. United States, ex rel. Marjorie Prather, No. 18-699, U.S. Sup.).
MIAMI — The owner of a home health therapy services company and an employee who performed services despite not being licensed to do so were sentenced by a federal judge in Florida on March 6 after they pleaded guilty to charges of engaging in an $8.6 million health care fraud scheme (United States v. Alexander Ros Lazo, et al., No. 18cr20536, S.D. Fla.).
HOUSTON — A woman who was convicted in September 2017 on charges of conspiring to commit health care fraud and health care fraud was sentenced by a federal judge in Texas March 8 to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $15 million in restitution (United States v. Aliksandar Bekatev, et al., No 14cr637, S.D. Texas).
TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on March 8 sentenced a woman to 21 months in prison and ordered her to pay restitution for illegally obtaining Social Security disability benefits while simultaneously working at a law firm as a title closer (United States v. Roselle Fitzgerald, No. 18cr227, M.D. Fla.).
PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 12 affirmed a former sales associate’s conviction for mail fraud and witness tampering in connection with her role in orchestrating a scheme to submit fraudulent claims for disability insurance benefits from American Family Life Assurance Co. (AFLAC), finding that the evidence sufficiently demonstrated that she attempted to corruptly persuade witnesses to not speak with investigators (United States v. Patricia Diane Smith Sledge, No. 17-50363, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7116).
TRENTON, N.J. — A jury should decide if a California chiropractor and two of his clinics violated the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (IFPA) when opening clinics in New Jersey and submitting claims for reimbursement to insurance companies, a New Jersey appeals court ruled March 11, finding that the ruling in Allstate New Jersey Ins. Co. v. Lajara can be applied retroactively (Allstate Insurance Co., et al. v. Northfield Medical Center P.C., et al., No. A-0964-12T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.,2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 572).
TRENTON, N.J.— A New Jersey appeals court panel on March 8 vacated a trial court judge’s ruling finding that a radiologist violated two sections of the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (IFPA), holding that expert testimony is needed to determine if there was a relationship between a patient’s prior medical history and the reason the patient was undergoing the procedure performed by the radiologist (Allstate New Jersey Insurance Co., et al. v. Gregorio Lajara, et al., No. A-1151-16T4, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 523).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 6 that a federal judge in Connecticut did not err when allowing a co-conspirator’s testimony about two defendants’ involvement with 50 staged automobile accidents that served as the basis for the submission of fraudulent insurance claims, finding that the testimony was not outside the scope of the charges against the defendants (United States v. Frandy Dugue, et al., Nos. 17-3315, 17-3578, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 6907).
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on March 6 dismissed without prejudice a former internal auditor’s False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit accusing a public health care facilities operator of engaging in a scheme of obtaining reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid stemming from illegal referrals among doctors, finding that the allegations lacked the required amount of specificity and particularity (United States, ex rel. Angela D’Anna v. Lee Memorial Health System, No. 14-cv-437, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35783).
BUFFALO, N.Y.— A federal judge in New York on Feb. 27 denied a request from a doctor charged with health care fraud and illegal distribution of controlled substances to sever the claims for separate trials, finding that he would not be prejudiced if the claims were tried simultaneously (United States v. Eugene Gosy, No. 16-CR-46, W.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31404).
NEW YORK — The Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) sufficiently alleged claims against a woman accused of owning sham businesses that were involved in a scheme initiated by acupuncture clinics that allegedly billed the insurer for millions of dollars' worth of services that they were not eligible to receive under New York’s Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance Reparations Act (No-Fault Law), a federal judge in New York ruled March 1 (Government Employees Insurance Co. v. Mayzenberg, et al., No. 17-CV-2802, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33199).
RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 27 affirmed a federal judge in Virginia’s decision to admit hearsay statements provided by a deceased woman’s mother and an insurance investigator during a trial against a woman who was later convicted for changing the beneficiary information on her friend’s life insurance policy, finding that the judge properly applied the residual hearsay exception (United States v. Semyya Cunningham, No. 18-4664, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 5880).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A senior living facility accused of routinely submitting fraudulent bills to Medicare on Feb. 20 told the U.S. Supreme Court that the high court must decide what requirements are necessary for successfully pleading scienter and materiality under the False Claims Act (FCA) because the courts of appeals are split on the issues (Brookdale Senior Living Communities Inc. v. United States, ex rel. Marjorie Prather, No. 18-699, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Feb. 13 vacated a portion of a woman’s conviction for insurance fraud, finding that there was insufficient evidence to show that she submitted a false claim for workers’ compensation benefits (California v. Sharon L. Davis, No. B286377, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 8th Div., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1061)
LAS VEGAS — A federal judge in Nevada on Feb. 14 overruled objections by two doctors accused of submitting bills to Allstate Insurance Co. and its affiliates for medical services provided to victims of automobile accidents that were not provided or medically unnecessary to a magistrate judge’s ruling denying their motion to quash subpoenas seeking financial records, finding that the requested information is relevant and that the subpoenas cannot be narrowed (Allstate Insurance Co., et al. v. Marjorie Belsky, M.D., et al., No. 15-cv-2265, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24986).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The owner of a medical transportation company pleaded guilty in New York federal court on Feb. 12 to charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay bribes and kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries after his company obtained nearly $2.4 million from the New York Department of Health (DOH) after submitting fraudulent bills to the program from 2014 until 2018 (United States v. Arshad Nazir, No. 19cr22, N.D. N.Y.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two women who were executives of a company that provided services to children and adults with autism on Feb. 5 pleaded guilty in South Carolina federal court to charges of fraudulently billing Medicare and encouraging employees to bill the program for time that was not spent providing services to patients (United States v. Angela B. Keith, et al., No. 19cr91, D. S.C.).
TAMPA, Fla. — A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Feb. 7 recommended accepting a psychologist’s guilty plea for one count of obstructing a Medicare audit in 2012, finding that the defendant was knowledgeable of the allegations against him and that he entered the plea willingly (United States v. Charles Gerardi, No. 18cr289, M.D. Fla.).