Just Hang Up the Phone

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Surgeon picking up surgical tool from tray. Surgeon is preparing for surgery in operating room. He is in a hospital.

“I love telemarketing calls,” said no one, ever. If only scores of beneficiaries of Medicare and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (“CHAMPVA”) had just hung up the phone, you wouldn’t be reading about this $134 million healthcare fraud scheme.

Between October 2016 and April 2019, Michael Nolan, 48, of Tampa, Fla., and Richard Epstein, 29, of Aurora, Colo., ran a Tampa-based telemarketing company called REMN Management LLC that targeted the elderly and the military. They spearheaded a healthcare fraud scheme that generated thousands of doctors’ orders for durable medical equipment (DME) and cancer genetic testing (CGx) that were medically unnecessary. (It’s just like a fraudster to exploit our most vulnerable citizens and military veterans.)

The deceptive duo also ran a telemedicine company called Comprehensive Telcare, LLC, which was used to illegally bribe doctors to sign the unnecessary orders. Nolan and Epstein then illegally sold the signed physicians’ orders to clients, who were also conspirators. They used the orders to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and CHAMPVA.

Over approximately 2 ½ years, at least $134 million in fraudulent claims were submitted to the federal health benefit programs, resulting in $29 million in payments. Noland and Epstein both pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud.

Nolan was sentenced to six years and six months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Epstein was sentenced to five years and three months in federal prison, also followed by three years of supervised release. (This seems fair for the amount of trouble they caused.)

The duo was also ordered to pay $29,020,304 in restitution, jointly and severally with each other and their conspirators. And on top of that, the court entered a money judgment against each defendant for $2.1 million and $3 million, respectively. (That should suffice for one of the largest healthcare schemes to ever occur.)  

Congrats to the law enforcement agencies who worked together to hold these perpetrators accountable. (A word to the wise – let your answering machine handle any call from a number you don’t recognize.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Florida man sentenced in $134M fraud scheme, DOJ says,” published by Orlando Sentinel on November 9, 2021.

A federal judge sentenced a 48-year-old Florida man to six years in prison for his role in a $134 million fraud scheme.

Michael Nolan’s prison sentence will be followed by three years probation for defrauding federal health benefit programs, according to the Department of Justice.

 

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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.