Authorities in Georgia have announced charges against a Florida man who operated a durable medical equipment company in the state for his alleged involvement in a Medicare kickback and telemedicine fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Patrick Wolfe, 48, of Belleair Beach, FL, was the owner of Wilmington Island Medical Inc., which does business as WI Medical Inc. in Georgia. He is accused of conspiring to pay kickbacks for “leads,” which were in actuality signed orders from doctors and nurses, and then billing those orders to Medicare Part B and Medicare Part C through his medical equipment company.
The amount of money Wolfe amassed through the alleged scheme is believed to be in the millions. He is the 25th defendant investigated as part of “Operation Double Helix” and “Operation Brace Yourself,” which are nationwide operations by the Department of Justice that have thus far included allegations involving billions of dollars in fraudulent claims for pain creams, genetic testing, orthotic braces, and other items.
Previous charges in this string of cases include eight physicians, two nurse practitioners, three operators of different telemedicine companies, two patient data brokers, and several owners of durable medical equipment companies. The Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries whose identities were used as part of the fraud schemes are from all over the U.S., including the Southern District of Georgia.
“White collar crime—and particularly health care fraud—continues to be a priority for this office and we are proud to work with our dedicated law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those who illegally exploit government safety-net programs for personal gain,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine for the Southern District of Georgia.
These cases amount to the largest fraud operation prosecuted in the history of the Southern District of Georgia, with a combined total of more than $475 million charged so far, according to Christine.
“This is another in a long line of charges in a continuous investigation into fraud that hurts every taxpayer and steals money earmarked for those who need it to meet their healthcare issues,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI and our fellow federal partners will not rest until everyone involved in wrongdoing is brought to justice.”
Telemedicine refers to all the ways a patient and a doctor can use technology to communicate without being in the same room. It includes emails, phone calls, video calls, and text messages. As telemedicine becomes a more common practice in our healthcare system, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, accusations of fraud and kickbacks are also on the rise.
Any physician, nurse practitioner, or medicine equipment manufacturer suspected of fraud or accepting illegal kickbacks relating to telemedicine, including fraud related to COVID-19, should immediately consult an experienced healthcare fraud attorney who can review the case and determine the best course of action.
South Florida Health Care Fraud Attorney
Accused of committing healthcare fraud? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. for a free initial consultation with one of Miami’s most experienced healthcare fraud defense attorneys.