Texas man convicted in multimillion dollar Cerner fraud scheme

A federal jury convicted a Texas man for  his role in a multimillion dollar scheme to defraud Cerner, the EHR vendor, by conspiring to impersonate the company in business and legal activities, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Missouri said in a May 15 news release.

Suresh Mitta claimed to be the chief technology officer for several organizations owned by Albert Davis, who led the scheme and pleaded guilty to his role in a separate but  related case. Mr. Mitta, Mr. Davis and four other conspirators exploited Cerner's reputation in the healthcare industry to manipulate business transactions and court proceedings for the conspirators' benefit. Between Aug. 25, 2008, and Feb. 19, 2015,  several victims lost millions of dollars. .

The conspirators created a fake Cerner business, dubbed Cerner LLC, which they used to open a fake Cerner bank account, register a fake Cerner internet domain and lease virtual office space for a fake Cerner address in Kansas City, Mo. They fabricated documents, price quotes, agreements and invoices that appeared to be legitimate Cerner documents. They also developed fake Cerner employees, as well as fake physicians and respected leaders to support the counterfeit business and its products.

As part of the scheme, the fake Cerner attempted to sell a purported newly developed MRI system to Dallas Medical Center. To get the medical center to move more quickly on the deal, the conspirators created fake email accounts for prominent Dallas cardiologists to drum up demand for the MRI system. Believing the company was the real Cerner,  the medical center paid the conspirators more than $1 million for a device it never received.

Court documents show the DMC scheme was just a small part of the fraud Mr. Davis, Mr. Mitta and their co-conspirators committed. The conspirators also solicited millions of dollars in investments from physicians and other investors by using made-up communications and documents from entities they created, including false financial documents, altered MRI images and false claims. They also brought a lawsuit against Korean company ISOL Technology, acting as Cerner, in 2014 and a jury awarded the the conspirators $24 million.

In addition to the scheme, the conspirators provided false and misleading information and testimony during the litigation of several lawsuits.

Mr. Mitta faces up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, and Mr. Davis was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $19 million in restitution. The other four co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and been sentenced in separate but related cases.

More articles on legal & regulatory issues:
Kansas hospital's interim CEO was allegedly part of 20-hospital kickback scheme
9 latest healthcare industry lawsuits, settlements
23-hospital system enters $14M settlement with feds over improper physician payments

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2018. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months