The Weekly Vista

Scammers Nabbed in False Claims Cases


It’s not the brightest of individual­s who try to con the Department of Veterans Affairs out of goods, services and money. They eventually get caught.

A Pennsylvan­ia company has been fined $44 million for allegation­s about services they didn’t provide. In this false claims case, the service they allegedly provided was cardiac monitoring. Instead of doing what they’d been contracted to do, when they got “busy,” they farmed out the services to India. The diagnostic testing and monitoring, as well as other services, were done by personnel in India who weren’t qualified. Patients getting health care via the VA, TRICARE, Medicare and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and likely their physicians, had no idea.

To their credit, it was some former company employees who blew the whistle and brought the whole thing to light. (They’ll be getting $8.3 million as a reward.) The company, meanwhile, was fined and denied access to any further government business, right? Wrong. Per the press release, the company was put under a five-year agreement to do assessment and internal review to pinpoint compliance risk.

In another false claims case, a New York man is going to prison for 20 years for crimes involving investment fraud and the sale of nonexisten­t N95 masks. Over the years, in a long-term Ponzi scheme, he continued to solicit money, using new money to fund new acquisitio­ns and a fancy lifestyle.

Enter the pandemic and the need for masks and personal protective gear in hospitals and clinics. Pretending to have a direct pipeline to U.S. factories that could provide those items, he conned $7.4 million out of medical supply companies that believed they were buying the hard-to-get gear. It didn’t help that the criminal attempted to con the VA out of $3 million in upfront money for 125 million masks, in what would have been a $750 million deal. Besides the 20 years in prison, he’ll also be paying back $106 million in money he stole from investors.

(c) 2023 King Features Synd., Inc.

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