Florida man to pay $128 million in guilty plea for healthcare fraud

A Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital entrance sign is seen in Dallas, Texas. REUTERS/Jim Young

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  • Guilty plea relates to three separate regimes
  • A man paid bribes to doctors to obtain fraudulent prescriptions

(Reuters) – A Florida businessman has agreed to pay $128 million after pleading guilty to three separate schemes to defraud federal health insurance programs, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Daniel Hurt, 58, has agreed to pay $97 million in restitution and $31 million in criminal forfeiture. The most serious charges against him carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

A spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Cindy Chung’s office in Pittsburgh, which led the prosecution, and an attorney for Hurt did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hurt is scheduled to be sentenced on January 23.

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In a scheme, Hurt, along with co-conspirators, provoked the submission of fraudulent Medicare bills by Ellwood City Medical Center, a Pennsylvania hospital for cancer risk genetic screenings, according to a criminal information filed in federal court in Pittsburgh.

Hurt admitted that he and his co-conspirators obtained samples of cheek swabs from Medicare beneficiaries through mail marketing and so-called ‘health fairs’ around the country, then secured orders for the tests. by telemedicine from physicians who did not actually treat the recipients and were not qualified to interpret the tests. The test results have never been used in the treatment of patients.

In a separate scheme, initially indicted by New Jersey prosecutors, Hurt admitted he billed Medicare for unnecessary tests performed by labs he owned.

In another scheme, initially indicted by Florida prosecutors, Hurt admitted that he and his co-conspirators billed TRICARE and CHAMPVA, federal insurance programs for military and veterans, for medically unnecessary compound drugs. . Patients recruited for this program obtained prescriptions through a telemedicine service in Utah and received medications from a pharmacy that Hurt and his partners owned in part through a company called OptimuMD.

In all three programs, doctors received kickbacks for their roles, prosecutors said.

The cases originally brought by prosecutors in New Jersey and Florida were transferred to Pittsburgh for the guilty plea.

The case is United States v. Hurt, US District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, No. 2:22-cr-00189.

For the Government: Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Olshan of the Western District of Pennsylvania

For Hurt: Colin Callahan of Flannery Georgalis

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Brendan Pierson

Thomson Reuters

Brendan Pierson advises on product liability litigation and all areas of healthcare law. He can be reached at [email protected]

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