Guilty plea entered for $424M fraud scheme

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – The owner and CEO of a telemedicine company has pleaded guilty to a $424 million conspiracy to defraud Medicare and receive illegal kickbacks in exchange for DME orders, the Department of Justice has announced.

Lester Stockett, the owner of Video Doctor USA and Telemed Health Group, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. In connection with his plea agreement, he has agreed to pay $200 million in restitution to the United States, as well as forfeit assets and property traceable to proceeds of the conspiracy.

Stockett, of Medellin, Columbia, admitted to soliciting and receiving illegal kickbacks and bribes from patient recruiters, pharmacies, brace suppliers and others in exchange for arranging doctors to order medically unnecessary orthotic braces for beneficiaries of Medicare and other insurers.

The beneficiaries were contacted through an international telemarketing network that lured hundreds of thousands of elderly and/or disabled patients into a criminal scheme that crossed borders, involving call centers in the Philippines and throughout Latin America.

Earlier this year, the feds charged 24 defendants with a $1.2 billion scheme involving illegal kickbacks and bribes by DME companies in exchange for referrals of Medicare beneficiaries by medical professionals working with fraudulent telemedicine companies for back, shoulder, wrist and knee braces.