Patient recruiter gets 10-year prison sentence for telemedicine fraud

A patient recruiter in Florida was sentenced April 14 to 10 years in prison for his role in a genetic testing and telemedicine scheme that resulted in approximately $3.3 million in fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare, according to the U.S. Justice Department

Ivan Andre Scott, 36, of Kissimmee, Fla., was sentenced about three months after he was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud, conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks and receiving unlawful kickbacks. 

Evidence at trial showed that Mr. Scott, who owned a telemarketing call center in Orlando, called Medicare beneficiaries and falsely told them that Medicare covered cancer-screening genetic testing. After beneficiaries agreed to take the tests, which cost as much as $6,000, evidence showed that Mr. Scott paid bribes and kickbacks to telemedicine companies to get physician's orders authorizing the tests. 

Telemedicine physicians approved the tests without treating the patients for cancer or cancer symptoms, and many times without even speaking to them, according to evidence presented at trial. 

Of the $3.3 million in fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare as a result of the scheme, Medicare paid more than $1.3 million, according to the Justice Department. 

"The defendant used telemarketing and telemedicine to defraud Medicare of more than a million dollars for unnecessary genetic-screening tests," acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department's criminal division, said in a news release. "The department will continue working with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who seek to use new technologies to plunder our government health care programs."

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