Patient recruiter convicted in $2.8M telemedicine scheme

Jackie Drees - Print  | 

The owner of an Orlando, Fla.-based telemarketing call center was convicted of coordinating fraudulent genetic testing services  as part of a $2.8 million telemedicine kickback scheme, the U.S. Justice Department  announced Jan. 11. 

Ivan Andre Scott was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, three counts of healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, and three counts of receiving kickbacks.  

As the owner of Scott Global, Mr. Scott targeted Medicare beneficiaries with telemarketing phone calls and falsely told them that expensive cancer screening genetic testing, or "CGx," which cost as much as $6,000 per test, would be covered by Medicare, according to evidence presented at trial. After beneficiaries agreed to take the test, Mr. Scott paid bribes and kickbacks to telemedicine companies to get physician's orders authorizing the tests, according to the news release. 

Telemedicine physicians approved the genetic testing even though they were not treating the beneficiary for cancer or symptoms of cancer, and often without even speaking to the patients, according to evidence presented at trial. Mr. Scott then sold the genetic tests and physician's orders to labs in exchange for illegal kickbacks and submitted the invoices to labs and other marketers making it appear as though he was being paid for hourly marketing services, rather than referral. 

Labs submitted more than $2.8 million in claims to Medicare for genetic tests Mr. Scott had referred to them, of which Medicare paid more than $880,000, according to the Justice Department. Within that time frame, Mr. Scott received about $180,000 for his role in the scheme. 

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