Fraud Isn’t Free

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Cropped shot of a medical professional filling out paperwork

Omaha is largely known for being the largest city in Nebraska and for making world renowned steaks. Unfortunately, one Omaha native is tainting its good reputation by making headlines for defrauding Medicare and state Medicaid programs. (Well, I guess you can’t be good at everything.)

Nereus Sutko owned and operated Better Lives, LLC in Omaha, Nebraska from 2010 to 2019. This company operated under the guise of selling medical equipment to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Better Lives would try to find new business by hosting pizza parties at senior living and low-income facilities. (By new “business” I mean they wanted to find new vulnerable targets to exploit.)

Sutko would use these pizza parties as an opportunity to gather beneficiaries’ insurance information by falsely promising them free heating pads or shoe inserts. He also offered gift cards to anyone who gave him names and contact information of other beneficiaries. (No one’s going to turn down free pizza! Or free anything for that matter.)

Investigators began to receive reports of Better Lives’ suspicious billings in 2017. Sutko was using the insurance information given to him at pizza parties to fraudulently bill Medicare and Nebraska and Iowa Medicaid. (He fraudulently billed multiple states. What an overachiever!) He billed the insurance companies for fitted braces and other medical equipment that was not medically necessary and never delivered to the beneficiaries.

Dozens of beneficiaries in Lincoln, Omaha, and Des Moines fell victim to Sutko’s scam. He received more than $1.8 million by Medicare and state Medicaid programs between 2010 and 2019. A search warrant for Sutko’s home was carried out in May 2019 which led to his subsequent arrest. (Sutko is the modern day opposite of Robin Hood, he stole from the poor to make himself rich.)

Sutko was sentenced in June 2020 to 46 months in prison for healthcare fraud. Sutko will also serve a three-year term of supervised release pending the completion of his time in prison. Additionally, he is to pay $809,561 in restitution, as well as forfeit property. This property includes a speedboat and a Corvette.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Omaha man sentenced for $1.8 million in healthcare fraud,” published by WCAX on June 23, 2020.

An Omaha man was sentenced to 46 months in prison Tuesday for healthcare fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Nebraska.

Nereus Sutko, 38, will also serve a three-year term of supervised release following his prison term and was also ordered to pay $809,561 in restitution and forfeit property including a speedboat and a Corvette.

 

 

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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.