Arizona telemedicine owners plead guilty to $64M fraud, kickback scheme

Two owners of a nationwide telemedicine company pleaded guilty May 10 to their roles in a $64 million healthcare fraud and kickback scheme.

Stephen Luke, 54, and David Laughlin, 48, owned and operated Phoenix-based RediDoc, according to a May 10 Justice Department news release. The two men submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Tricare between September 2017 and December 2019, according to the news release 

Pharmacies and durable medical equipment providers agreed to pay bribes and kickbacks to marketing companies in exchange for drug prescriptions and physicians' orders for equipment, according to the release. The marketing companies obtained personal information of Medicare and Tricare beneficiaries, which they sent to RediDoc with the pre-filled prescriptions and equipment orders. RediDoc gave the beneficiary information, drugs and equipment orders to physicians. 

The physicians involved in the scheme often approved the prescriptions and orders without having any contact with the beneficiaries, according to the release. Participants in the scheme selected drugs based on the reimbursement amounts that Medicare and Tricare would pay, rather than medical need.

The RediDoc owners face a maximum of 15 years in prison. They are scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 11. 

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