COVID Feature: The Fraud That Broke the Chiropractor’s Back

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People visit chiropractors when their spine is out of alignment or there is something wrong with their musculoskeletal system. The general expectation is to leave the chiropractor feeling better after an adjustment, not to be robbed and left thousands of dollars in debt. (That would definitely cause you to throw out your back.)

Miami local Dennis Nobbe stands accused of fraudulently obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). PPP loans, which are interest forgivable loans, were approved through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The intent of the loans is to encourage businesses to keep their workers on the payroll and maintain business expenses.

Small businesses may also qualify for EIDL loans if they can prove that coronavirus has caused them to lose a significant amount of revenue. The loans are intended to help businesses pay rent, utilities, healthcare benefits, and other business expenses as long as the use doesn’t overlap with the PPP loans. In today’s case, Nobbe purportedly attempted to use the money for personal expenses rather than using them for business purposes. (There’s more than overlapping going on here.)

Nobbe, who owned and operated his own chiropractic business called Dynamic Medical Services, Inc., is accused of abusing his position as a chiropractor to defraud his patients out of thousands of dollars and of submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and CareCredit. (This just might go against the chiropractor code of ethics.) He is charged with wire fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

He encouraged many of his low-income patients, especially ones that did not speak English, to apply for CareCredit. (The credit card is meant to help patients financially manage medical expenses that insurance does not cover, not cause the card bearer to rack up more debt.)

Nobbe would charge thousands of dollars to his patient’s credit cards for services that did not occur or were only partially reflective of the services delivered. This left his patients thousands of dollars in debt. (Nobbe was more concerned with lining his own pockets than advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves.)

Nobbe also bribed physicians to open credit merchant accounts to conceal his role in the scheme. (Nobbe might need a chiropractor after bending over backwards to try to get away with this scam.) He additionally bribed physicians to illegally bill Medicare on his behalf as his position as a chiropractor made him ineligible to receive reimbursement claims.

Together Nobbe and the physicians allegedly attempted to launder the Medicare reimbursements and the money made from the credit cards through the use of shell companies and fraudulent business contracts. These shell companies were also used to hide a portion of the $200,000 Nobbe received in PPP and EIDL loans so that he could use them to pay for personal expenses. (The money was granted with the intent of helping Nobbe’s chiropractic business but it appears that he attempted to reroute the funds for his own personal gain.) 

The charges against Nobbe are allegations and not representative of guilt. He is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. (The case against him doesn’t look good unless you can argue the granted loans ‘magically’ found their way into his checking account.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Florida Man Charged With COVID Relief Fraud, Health Care Fraud And Money Laundering,” published by CBS Atlanta on July 30, 2020.

A Florida man has been charged regarding allegations that he fraudulently obtained a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and that he orchestrated a conspiracy to submit false and fraudulent claims for reimbursement to Medicare and CareCredit, and to defraud his own patients by charging them thousands of dollars for chiropractic services under false pretenses.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, Omar Perez Aybar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kupperbuschof the Small Business Administration’s Office of the Inspector General (SBA-OIG) made the announcement.

 

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.