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Texas Duo Found Guilty Of Multimillion Dollar Adult Daycare Fraud Scheme




A kickback is defined as a payment that is made to someone who has facilitated a transaction or appointment. Kickbacks are illegal and considered unethical in most parts of the world because they’re forms of corruption that distorts fair competition. Kickbacks often result in financial losses for businesses and harm to the overall economy. As well, those who participate in kickback schemes often see prison time.

 

69 year-old Dr. Osama Nahas and 53 year-old Isabel Pruneda are two such individuals. As reported by the Southern District of Texas branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office last Friday, the physician and clinic employee were found guilty of receiving illegal kickbacks. According to the report, the Texas duo was found to have violated the Anti-Kickback Statute after a two-week trial.

 

Nahas and Pruneda ordered unnecessary lab tests and prescriptions.

 

After about three hours of deliberation, the trial’s jury returned guilty verdicts for both parties. Proven to have received illegal kickbacks after ordering unnecessary lab tests and prescriptions, Nahas and Pruneda were found guilty of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. Pruneda was also convicted for aggravated identity theft.

 

As the report details, Nahas is the owner and physician at Crosspoint Medical Clinic in Edinburg, Texas. He would travel to adult day care centers around the Rio Grande Valley. Following his visits, Nahas would order unnecessary lab tests and prescriptions on behalf of elderly and vulnerable clients at the day care centers.  

 

Pruneda worked as a medical assistant at Crosspoint.

 

She assisted Nahas in the scheme by helping to forge patient signatures on consent forms. She also misappropriated expensive patient medications such as pain creams. In addition, Pruneda would strip patient information off and remove creams from their boxes. That way, she could hand them out as “goodie bags” to incentivize patients to be tested.

 

Between January 2016 and December 2017, the pair ordered unnecessary lab tests and prescriptions, directing them to companies that paid them in kickbacks. In June of 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Crosspoint. They found hundreds of thousands in stolen medications.

 

The actions of Nahas and Pruneda resulted in millions of dollars in losses.

 

“Nahas and Pruneda also bribed their way into the adult daycare facilities by offering kickbacks to the adult daycare owners disguised as ‘rent’ payments,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office details, “The jury heard witness testimony revealing both Nahas and Pruneda accepted bribes in exchange for referrals, many of which were also disguised as ‘rent’ payments. Evidence revealed that both received tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from January 2016 to December 2017.”

 

According to the report, Nahas tried to convince the jury that the payments he received were legitimate “rent” payments for the use of space. He also made the claim that Pruneda ordered all the prescriptions and lab tests without his consent. Meanwhile, Pruneda’s defense team argued that she was simply following Nahas’ orders. She denied committing any forgeries. Neither convinced the jury of their innocence. Sentencing for both is scheduled for May 16, 2024.

 

Are you an attorney who is currently working a healthcare fraud case?

 

The clinical experts at Allegiant Experts can help you! We coordinate and support courageous whistleblowers that shine lights on fraud, waste and abuse. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 407-217-5831. You may also email us at info@allegiantexperts.com.

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