by Brian Mahany
Dr. Jonathan Agbebiyi, age 63, is going to spend his golden years in a federal penitentiary. A federal judge in Michigan sentenced him earlier this month to 60 months in prison for his role in a $5.4 million Medicare fraud. He was convicted of 6 counts of health care fraud.
Prosecutors proved that Agbebiyi was billing Medicare for unnecessary neurological tests at three different Detroit area clinics. Some of the procedures he ordered involved shooting electrical charges through patient’s bodies.
If you are thinking that the good doctor was just a bit over cautious and liked to order extra tests, DON’T! Prosecutors were able to demonstrate that the doctor’s “patients” were recruited through promises of narcotics, fast food and even cash. The people performing the tests were often not properly trained and the patients were not referred to follow up care with a neurologist. (Agbebiyi himself wasn’t even a neurologist. He is a gynecologist!)
The message here is that doctors and clinics can’t treat patients as commodities simply to be used for financial gain.
Many Medicare fraud cases are brought by whistleblowers. It’s often a billing specialist, technician or nurse that comes forward. If the unnecessary tests or overcharges involve taxpayer funds, the whistleblower can receive up to 30% of whatever the government collects. In this case, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say that Agbebiyi’s conspiracy costs taxpayers $5.4 billion.
If you know of fraud in which the state or federal government is a victim, give us a call. The federal government and many states have a false claims act (whistleblower law) that allows people with inside information to file a suit in the name of the government. The suit is filed under seal meaning its secret. While under seal, the government has the opportunity to investigate and often adopt the suit.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Services available to residents of many states.