Information a whistleblower provided recently led to federal prosecutors bringing a fraud case against a dermatology chain in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
According to an announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis, Skin Care Doctors and its founder, Michael Ebertz, settled the case with a payment of $850,000. Prosecutors alleged the practice routinely filed false Medicare claims between January 2008 and December 2015.
The whistleblower was Dr. Jeff Samuelson, who was an employee of Skin Care Doctors, but now practices dermatology in California. After reporting his concerns about the clinic’s wrongdoing, he was reportedly pushed out of Skin Care Doctors. He came forward as a whistleblower to file a complaint under the False Claims Act.
According to the announcement, the fraudulent Medicare billing occurred in four areas: free samples of a phototherapy drug, lesion removal procedures, up-coding office visits and other phototherapy services. As part of the settlement agreement, Skin Care Doctors and Dr. Ebertz do not have to admit any wrongdoing.
Whistleblowers who bring lawsuits on behalf of the U.S. government for false claims will share in the recovery of any lost money from taxes earned in a successful case. In many cases, False Claims Act lawsuits that whistleblowers file are the only way these healthcare fraud rings would come to light. The government can take up the case after a private citizen begins it.
This particular case was taken on by the Civil Frauds Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistance was provided by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
For more information about how to file a complaint through the False Claims Act, contact a trusted Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.