Florida man to pay $128 million in health care fraud guilty plea – Reuters

September 19, 2022
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An entrance sign to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is seen in Dallas, Texas. REUTERS/Jim Young
(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 announced Thursday.
Daniel Hurt, 58, 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 the office of U.S. Attorney Cindy Chung in Pittsburgh, which led the prosecution, and a lawyer for Hurt did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hurt is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 23.
In one scheme, Hurt, along with co-conspirators, caused fraudulent bills to be submitted to Medicare by Ellwood City Medical Center, a Pennsylvania hospital for genetic screenings for cancer risk, according to a criminal information filed in Pittsburgh federal court.
Hurt admitted that he and his co-conspirators obtained cheek swab samples from Medicare beneficiaries through mail marketing and purported "health fairs" around the country and then obtained orders for testing via telemedicine from doctors who were not actually treating the beneficiaries and were not qualified to interpret the tests. The results of the tests were never used in treating patients.
In a separate scheme, originally charged by prosecutors in New Jersey, Hurt admitted that he billed Medicare for unnecessary tests performed by laboratories that he owned.
In yet another scheme, originally charged by Florida prosecutors, Hurt admitted that he and co-conspirators caused TRICARE and CHAMPVA, federal insurance programs for military servicemembers and veterans, to be billed for medically unnecessary compound drugs. Patients recruited for that scheme obtained prescriptions through a telemedicine service in Utah and received the drugs from a pharmacy Hurt and his partners partly owned through a company called OptimuMD.
In all three schemes, doctors were paid kickbacks for their role, prosecutors said.
The cases originally brought by New Jersey and Florida prosecutors were transferred to Pittsburgh for the guilty plea.
The case is United States v. Hurt, U.S. 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
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Thomson Reuters
Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com.
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