Foot Fraud

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To put oneself in the shoes of another is to understand the circumstances or experiences of someone else. (I would be extremely reluctant to put my feet in the shoes of a fraudster because I would not want to experience the life of a criminal, nor their stinky feet.) An article published in the St. Louis Business Journal tells the story of a podiatrist who used thousands of feet to commit nearly $1 million in health care fraud.

The story states that for approximately eight years, the foot doctor was an independent contractor for a podiatry company that provided care to residents at St. Louis-area nursing homes and in long-term care facilities located in Missouri and five other states. During that time, the podiatrist fraudulently billed Medicare, Medicaid and other private insurance companies for procedures including draining abscesses and hematomas, when in reality he simply clipped thousands of patient’s toenails. (I’m not a doctor but there is probably a huge difference between performing a medical procedure and clipping a toenail.)

The 65-year-old man pleaded guilty to health care fraud related to submitting false documents and reimbursement claims. He agreed to pay back $999,170 – the amount he received for the bogus health care claims. The podiatrist faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. His medical practice also faces a fine of up to $500,000.

The article doesn’t state how the doctor’s illegal actions were revealed. (Perhaps one of the doctor’s patients didn’t like their basic pedicure and examined their insurance statement more closely after their ”procedure.”) One thing is for sure, fraud stinks and the government has definitely put their foot down in this case.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Chesterfield Podiatrist Pleads Guilty to Submitting False Claims,” written by Diana Barr and published in the St. Louis Business Journal on January 13, 2015.

Podiatrist Dr. Lawrence Iken and his company each pleaded guilty to one felony count of health care fraud related to submitting false documents and reimbursement claims for services he purportedly provided from 2006 through July 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Iken, 65, of Chesterfield, and his company, Lawrence B. Iken DPM LLC, have offices in Manchester and Creve Coeur. He provided podiatry services to patients at those offices and at St. Louis-area nursing homes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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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.