Professionals in Bay Area face fraud charges on patient referrals

Chuck Smith Attorney at Law

Law enforcement officials charged at least 18 nurses, doctors and medical practitioners licensed by the state of California in an alleged Medicare fraud scheme. According to KRON 4, a transfer of $115 million worth of kickbacks allegedly took place through fraudulent billing practices and patient referrals in violation of federal law. 

According to the charges, the medical professionals allegedly used the Bay Area’s largest provider of home health care services to trade cash for referrals of patients insured by Medicare. The home health care company’s CEO was the purported ringleader who allegedly bribed others with luxury items, expensive dinners and cash worth $8 million to take part in the referrals. 

Federal charges do not always result in a conviction 

It is a serious felony offense for anyone to knowingly bribe, provide rebates or solicit offers in exchange for services paid with funds from a federal program. This includes public benefits such as Medicare and public works programs designed to award companies with construction projects. 

A charge, however, does not automatically result in a conviction. It is up to the prosecutor to convince a jury that the alleged wrongdoers had the necessary intent to obtain funds through fraudulent means. 

Protecting your reputation after a fraud charge 

Sometimes, getting the charges dropped may be a possibility, or a jury may decide that a defendant is not guilty of the prosecutor’s allegations. The damage to an individual’s reputation, however, may remain and can affect one’s professional standing. 

The internet enables anyone to post false, exaggerated or damaging information about a professional on various review websites. While many individuals do not take negative online material seriously, there are strategies designed to counteract derogatory information that an individual may wish to consider. 

Because a charge may not always result in a conviction, taking an aggressive legal defense approach may help in avoiding a guilty verdict. Protecting an individual’s professional reputation includes fighting the allegations through each stage of the case regardless of how serious or outrageous the charges may be. 

Criminal defense