Betting Your Bottom Dollar

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Corrupt doctor with money in his pocket

An estimated 140 million people across the United States collect coins. Some people take up the hobby because they appreciate the rarity and beauty of some coins and enjoy the challenge of finding that “perfect” coin. Others like to learn about the history, politics, society, and culture of certain coins, look forward to passing them along to their children and grandchildren, or they simply pursue the hobby because they want to make money. You can’t blame Andrzej Kazimierz Zielke, 66, of Allison Park, Penn., for wanting to make a buck or two off of his coin collection. Although, you can get angry about the fact he used fraudulent healthcare claims to fund his purchases.

The former pain management doctor, who owned and operated Medical Frontiers, LLC in Gibsonia, funded his coin collection by dispensing and distributing Schedule II drugs to four patients outside of his practice. (He provided Oxycodone, Methadone, Hydrocodone and Oxymorphone, even though the prescriptions were deemed medically unnecessary.)

Zielke submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid to pay for the unlawfully prescribed drugs. He took the $150,000 in proceeds received from the government health care program that were deposited into his bank account and wired the funds to Kitco Metals, Inc., one of the world’s largest online retailers and full-service providers of precious metals in the world. He used government money to purchase silver and collector coins. (Your tax dollars funded this criminal’s hobby.)

Zielke was convicted on charges of drug diversion, healthcare fraud and money laundering, all associated with his suburban Pittsburgh holistic medical practice. (It’s ironic that he would prescribe opioids at a holistic medical practice, which promotes treatment without using pharmaceuticals.)

The former physician, who had his license to practice medicine revoked by the Pennsylvania Medical Board on October 11, 2017 (according to Medical Frontier’s Facebook account), was sentenced in federal court to one day in prison and three years of supervised release, including 15 months of home confinement and 300 hours community service. He also agreed to hand over $75,359 in U.S. currency and an unvalued amount of gold coins and bullion. (You can bet your bottom dollar that the court will collect every last penny to repay Medicaid’s coffers.)

 

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Former Pain Management Doctor Sentenced for Illegally Dispensing Opioids, Health Care Fraud,” dated November 1, 2021.

PITTSBURGH, PA – A former physician has been sentenced in federal court to one day of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, including 15 months home confinement and 300 hours community service, on his conviction of drug diversion, health care fraud and money laundering, associated with his suburban Pittsburgh holistic medical practice, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Senior United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer imposed the sentence on Andrzej Kazimierz Zielke, 66, of Allison Park, Pennsylvania 15101.

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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.