A Louisiana physician and the owner of several home health care agencies may be headed to prison after pleading guilty to federal Medicare fraud charges. Divini Luccioni M.D. and Mark Morad pleaded guilty to federal healthcare fraud charges early this month.
Morad pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to falsify records in a federal investigation. Dr. Luccioni pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for this spring.
According to the indictments, Morad owned several healthcare companies in New Orleans including Interlink Health Care Services Inc., Memorial Home Health Inc., Lakeland Health Care Services Inc., Lexmark Health Care LLC, and Med Rite Pharmacy Inc. His companies billed Medicare millions of dollars for home health services and medical supplies. The government said that most of these services and products were either medically unnecessary or were never provided.
In order to qualify for Medicare reimbursement, home health care requires approval by a physician. The feds said that Dr. Luccioni falsely certified that many of Morad’s patients were homebound or needed power scooters.
Like many similar schemes, Morad relied on patient recruiters to sign up Medicare recipients from inner city areas. In our experience, clinics and home health agencies that use patient recruiters or pay cash to would be patients are almost always tied to massive Medicare fraud schemes. Morad’s scheme is no exception.
The indictments reveal that between 2007 and 2014, Morad’s companies submitted more than $56 million in claims to Medicare, a vast majority of which were fraudulent.
At one point prior to his guilty plea, the government moved to revoke Morad’s bail. Prosecutors say that after his indictment and after his Medicare billing numbers were suspended, Morad moved some patients to a different company he owned and continued the same illegal behavior!
Medicare fraud is a huge problem today. Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are hot spots but as this case demonstrates, fraud know no geographic boundaries.
Most Medicare fraud cases are uncovered by whistleblowers; insiders at physician and clinic offices that simply get fed up at watching a few greedy people make millions of dollars at the expense of taxpayers. The federal False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to keep a portion of whatever the government is able to collect from wrongdoers.
Mahany & Ertl is a boutique law firm that represents whistleblowers in state and federal courts. We help our clients collect the maximum award allowed by statute and have represented clients in three, billion dollar cases including the recent Bank of America case in which the government levied a record breaking penalty of $16.65 billion. From Medicare fraud to bank fraud whistleblowers, we can help.