Barry Nash, 69, plead guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in Miami, Florida. Nash is the owner/operator of a Broward County half-way house called Starter House. Like bank fraud, health care fraud is a Federal offense. Because health care fraud is a Federal offense, Nash’s case was prosecuted in U.S. District Court by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Hopefully, Nash is represented by a criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who is familiar with Medicare fraud cases and how to deal with sentencing under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Given his age, Nash is not exactly the best candidate for a prison sentence.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, American Therapeutic Corporation and the American Sleep Institute paid the owners/operators of assisted living facilities and halfway houses for referring patients.
In plain English, this is referred to as a kickback.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office claims that not only did Nash accept kickbacks, but he did so knowing that American Therapeutic Corporation and the American Sleep Institute would be filing fraudulent bills with Medicare.
Over time, millions of dollars were paid to owners/operators like Nash, while the two companies fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $200 million.
In some instances patients were also paid a kickback.
Nash admitted in court that he sent Medicare beneficiaries from his halfway house to the American Therapeutic Corporation for intensive mental health treatments called partial hospitalization program services. He also admitted to sending patients to the American Sleep Institute for sleep treatments.
Nash admitted to knowing that the companies in question were committing fraud against Medicare at the time he made the referrals.
The exact amount of kickback money he earned for his referrals has not been reported publicly.
Collectively, Nash’s participation in the fraudulent scheme caused Medicare to pay out nearly one million dollars for worthless services.
The Medicare Strike Force investigated and found that American Therapeutic Corporation, Medlink Professional Management Group Inc., and numerous owners, operators, patient brokers, managers, doctors, marketers, and therapists were all involved in the Medicare fraud. Most have been charged with various offenses including money laundering and health care fraud.
For their individual roles, Medlink and 9 other people were plead guilty or were convicted after trial. Other defendants are scheduled for trial in April.
Since 2007, the Medicare Strike Force has indicted more than 1,160 defendants who collectively spammed Medicate for nearly $3 billion.
Nash’s sentencing is scheduled for March 8, 2012 and is expected to get up to 10 years in prison including up to a $250,000 fine. Nash may also be required to forfeit any proceeds or property he earned from participating in the Medicare fraud.