Chiropractors offer their patients spinal adjustments in an effort to help improve their overall health. While most individuals believe that chiropractic care focuses on back pain alone, the practice offers many more health benefits. The belief is that with an aligned spine, one’s central nervous system can function uninterrupted. This allows the entire body to perform at peak levels. Of course, the relief of aches and pains in the back and neck are benefits too.
Just like every other vocation, not all chiropractors are created equal. Some place financial gain above the health of their patients. Enter Benjamin Tekippe. The 37 year-old resident of New Orleans, Louisiana used his chiropractic practice for much more than just spinal adjustments in the name of optimum health. As the Eastern District of Louisiana branch of the United States Department of Justice reports, Tekippe has been indicted for health care fraud.
Tekippe was charged on September 30th.
According to the indictment, he owned and operated his own practice, Metairie Chiropractic in Metairie, Louisiana. He purported to provide chiropractic services to patients at this clinic. However, Tekippe is reported to have knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud a health care benefit program in connection with the delivery of and payment for health care benefits and services.
“Tekippe submitted, and caused to be submitted, fraudulent claims to health care benefit programs that falsely represented that certain health care services were provided to patients, when Tekippe knew that those services were not actually provided,” reports the DoJ.
Tekippe submitted numerous false claims.
Throughout 2019, the chiropractor submitted, or caused to be submitted, claims for payment which were not provided. He also knowingly used or caused to be used, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person. Specifically, he used insurance members’ unique member identification numbers to bill for services that he did not provide.
Tekippe’s biggest misstep occurred on July 22, 2020. He knowingly and willfully made a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement to Special Agents of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Tekippe faces a harsh sentence.
If convicted of health care fraud, he may see a possible maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment. He could also face up to three years of supervised release. If convicted of aggravated identity theft, Tekippe faces a possible sentence of two years of imprisonment. They will be run consecutively to any other sentence and up to one year of supervised release.
“If convicted of making a false statement, Tekippe faces a possible maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and up to three years of supervised release,” concludes the DoJ report, “For each offense, Tekippe faces up to a $250,000 fine and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.”
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