The feds earned a clean sweep of the 11 people implicated in a $300 million kickback fraud just two months after the original indictment. The defendants include two medical doctors and other healthcare and marketing professionals.
The kickback scheme was complicated and included gifts to spouses, rent assistance, and salary offsets to hide the payments. Three North Texas labs were involved in the scheme, including United Laboratory Services in Fort Worth, Spectrum Diagnostic Laboratory in Arlington, and Reliable Labs in Carrollton. Two South Texas physicians, Drs. Eduardo Canova, Jose Maldonado, and nurse practitioner Keith Wichinski allegedly ordered unnecessary lab tests billed to federal payers, and the labs pled guilty to paying kickbacks to the providers to make sure that the tests were filled with them.
These cases often drag on for years, especially with this many defendants, organizations, and such complex payment schemes. Because these payments are often disguised through layers of marketing companies and consultants fees, it can be difficult to separate the legitimate payments from the fraudulent ones. The massive amount of data federal payers have to sift through to find the unusual billing patterns doesn’t make prosecution easier.