8 healthcare professionals accused of $20M 'paid patient' scheme, faking medical records

The Justice Department charged six physical therapists and two acupuncturists in relation to a $20 million healthcare fraud scheme for allegedly paying patients to falsely bill payers for services never rendered and faking medical documents.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said the eight defendants led a multimillion-dollar healthcare fraud scheme, according to a Sept. 29 news release. The defendants allegedly billed Medicare and other payers for physical therapy and acupuncture services that were either not rendered in the manner purported or not rendered at all.

Between 2018 and 2021, Junyi Liu, who operated medical offices in New York, allegedly worked with seven licensed medical professionals to create fake medical records that fraudulently said services had been given to patients. Patients were allegedly paid to provide their payer information to receive medically unnecessary or nonexistent treatments.

The charged individuals allegedly agreed to give kickbacks, including cash and expensive wine, to payer employees so the scheme could continue.

The indictment claims that Ms. Liu hired a receptionist who disbursed tens of thousands of dollars to paid patients. The paid patients allegedly received medically unnecessary treatments or visited the office to sign documents and left without treatment, or signed documents brought to them outside the office.

Those suspected of involvement have been charged with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Ms. Liu is also charged with wire fraud and theft of government funds.

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