On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that it had obtained a sentence in the case of Hoi Yat Kam, a New York based physician. Kam and his collaborators are accused of filing as much as $15 million worth of false claims for payment to Medicare.
“Stealing money from taxpayers unjustly takes funds from the limited public resources available to those who truly need them,” commented Christopher Paulos an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of qui tam or whistleblower and False Claims Act litigation. “It’s a form of theft from taxpayers. Plain and simple. Unfortunately, it often goes unpunished without the efforts of a brave individual coming forward who has knowledge of the improper or fraudulent activity.”
Kam pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and was sentenced to three years of supervised release and must pay $2.2 million in restitution.
According to court documents, Kam created a conspiracy to operate a spa-like service and provided massages, facials and free meals to Medicare recipients and then encourage recipients to allow themselves to be billed for services that either never occurred or were unnecessary. These included lesion removal and physical therapy services.
“Combating health care fraud is an important part of the Department of Justice’s mission,” Mr. Paulos added. “The False Claims Act equips whistleblowers with powerful tools for combating fraud and corruption.”
Over the last half-decade, the Department of Justice’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force has recovered more than $5.5 billion in fraudulently obtained funds.
Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow him on Twitter @Joshual33.