Man Charged With Multi-Million Dollar Medicare Fraud In Connection With False Claims For Durable Medical Equipment
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“HHS-OIG”) New York Regional Office announced today the arrest of MATTHEW WITKOWSKI on charges of conspiracy and health care fraud.
As alleged in a Complaint unsealed today in federal court, and at a presentment held this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jared M. Strauss of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, WITKOWSKI, ran a company dedicated to illegally buying written orders for durable medical equipment (“DME”) such as leg, arm, and back braces, and then selling those written orders to DME supply companies, which in turn used those orders to file fraudulent Medicare claims.
These fraudulent claims are estimated to have resulted in payments to WITKOWSKI’s coconspirators of at least $10 million. WITKOWSKI was arrested yesterday evening at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, after he flew in from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Witkowski remains in custody, with a detention hearing scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on July 27, 2022, before the Magistrate Judge is Alicia O. Valle in Fort Lauderdale.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Medicare is a valuable taxpayer-funded program designed to provide affordable health care to beneficiaries over 65 or with disabilities, not to lining the pockets of those who would enrich themselves through fraud. Here, the defendant is charged with illegally selling written orders for medical equipment used to bilk Medicare out of millions of dollars.”
HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert said: “The alleged fraud scheme that the defendant engaged in was motivated by pure greed. HHS-OIG and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue all those who seek to unlawfully enrich themselves by victimizing participants of the Medicare program.”
As alleged in the Complaint and at the detention hearing held this morning:
From at least August 2019 through at least April 2021, WITKOWSKI and an unnamed co-conspirator (“CC-1”) engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare and to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits the buying and selling of written orders for goods and services paid for by Medicare, including DME. WITKOWSKI illegally purchased fraudulent written orders for DME, and then sold those written orders to pharmacies and DME suppliers, including in New York City. Those pharmacies and DME suppliers then used those written orders as the basis for millions of dollars of fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Many of these fraudulent written orders used names and personal health information of Medicare beneficiaries, without the beneficiaries’ authorization or prior knowledge. Many of these written orders also contained professional information of doctors and other health-care providers enrolled in the Medicare program, as well as the purported electronic signatures of these providers, which were falsified and created without the authorization or knowledge of these providers.
During the course of the scheme, WITKOWSKI and CC-1 took in more than $3.5 million from DME suppliers, who made these payments to True Prospects Marketing, Inc., a company controlled by Witkowski and CC-1. The Government estimates that the orders for DME illegally sold by True Prospects were used to bill Medicare for more than $10 million.
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WITKOWSKI, 36, of the Dominican Republic, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years; and one count of health care fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. The maximum potential penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of HHS-OIG.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorney David Raymond Lewis is in charge of the prosecution.
The allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.