The Allegiant Experts Blog has long examined various cases of healthcare fraud and medical misconduct from all over the United States. Sometimes, we even delve into instances of fraud and malpractice north of the border, in Canada. However, over the past couple of weeks, we have taken a crucial look into some of the unscrupulous goings-on here in our home state of Florida.
Why wouldn’t we? We are proud Floridians who love the Sunshine State, but also wish that it could be a bit sunnier. Of course, Florida is far from the only state where health care fraud occurs. However, the Allegiant Experts team prides itself on assisting those who require our clinical expertise right here at home. That brings us our attention to another recent incident of health care fraud involving business owners from Boca Raton.
Florida business owners plead guilty to durable medical equipment fraud scheme.
As reported by the Northern District of Georgia branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this past Monday, 61 year-old Brett Weiner and 58 year-old Valerie Desalvo have pled guilty to federal conspiracy charges. They have confessed to buying and selling fake doctors’ orders used to obtain over $1.5 million in fraudulent payments from Medicare.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office report reveals that Weiner and Desalvo owned and operated the Boca Raton-based Laboratory Marketing Services, LLC. Also known as LMS, the business was used to receive kickback payments in exchange for patient “leads”. These so-called leads consisted of billable Medicare beneficiaries’ personal identifying information.
The defendants received bribes from several DME companies.
The companies included Medihealth Medical Solutions, LLC, which is located in Amory, Mississippi and Liberty Medical DME, LLC, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The “leads” included such information as Medicare beneficiary names, Medicare numbers, diagnoses, pain levels and primary care physicians.
Weiner and Desalvo also used LMS to buy and sell signed doctors’ orders from Nagaindra Srivastav. He owns B2B Apps Solutions, LLC in Tampa, Florida. The duo sold those orders to DME companies. Most of them contained forged signatures or purported approvals of physicians or other health care providers. The medical practitioners’ names and professional identifying information were used without their authorization or knowledge.
The pair caused the submission of more than $1.5 million in false claims.
The fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare generated approximately $715,000 in payments. The claims included those for braces that were procured through the payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes. As a result, they were ineligible for Medicare reimbursement. This past Monday, Weiner and Desalvo each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks. They are due to be sentenced on February 8, 2024.
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan made the announcement of Weiner and Desalvo’s guilty pleas on Monday. “Durable Medical Equipment fraud schemes involve much more than simply bilking the Medicare system,” he is quoted as saying in the report, “These schemes exploit our most vulnerable citizens in the name of personal greed, and our office is committed to finding and prosecuting those involved.”
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