An LA physician assistant will serve six years in prison for his role in an $18.9 million Medicare fraud scheme. David James Garrison stole doctors’ identities to write medically unnecessary prescriptions for diagnostic tests and durable medical equipment (DME). Mr. Garrison also received a sentence of three years’ supervised release and must pay restitution of $24,935 jointly and severally with his convicted co-defendants, according to the Justice Department.
In June 2012, a federal jury found Mr. Garrison guilty of healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft. In 2007 and 2008, Mr. Garrison worked at phony medical clinics that functioned as prescriptions mills, dealing fraudulent prescriptions for diagnostic testing and DME. Mr. Garrison wrote prescriptions without authorization in the name of physicians whom he had never met.
Physician Asst. Wrote Fraudulent Prescriptions for DME and Diagnostic Tests
The evidence at trial showed that Mr. Garrison worked for a chain of medical clinics that were set up for the sole purpose of defrauding the Medicare program. Mr. Garrison’s co-conspirators Edward Aslanyan and others hired patient recruiters to locate Medicare beneficiaries who were willing to turn over their Medicare billing information in exchange for free wheelchairs and other DME. The Medicare beneficiaries often had no legitimate medical need for the wheelchairs and equipment. In exchange for kickbacks, the patient recruiters brought Medicare beneficiaries to the phony medical clinics, or they provided the conspirators with the Medicare beneficiaries’ billing information.
Mr. Garrison then wrote prescriptions for power wheelchairs and other expensive DME that the patients didn’t need or use. In some cases, Mr. Garrison wrote DME prescriptions for patients whom he had never examined and who did not visit the clinics. Mr. Aslanyan and others sold the prescriptions for $1,000 to $1,500 roughly 50 fraudulent DME supply companies. In turn, the DME supply companies used the prescriptions to file false claims with Medicare for medically unnecessary power wheelchairs and other DME.
Mr. Garrison also wrote fraudulent prescriptions for the same diagnostic tests for every Medicare beneficiary. The tests included ultrasounds, sleep studies, and nerve conduction. The tests were billed to Medicare by phony diagnostic testing companies that paid kickbacks to Mr. Aslanyan.
Mr. Garrison received up to $10,000 a week for his work at the clinics, all in cash.
Through this Medicare fraud scheme, Mr. Garrison and his co-conspirators filed false claims for more than $18.9 million and received $10.7 million in reimbursements from Medicare.
Whistleblowers Help Fight Medicare Fraud
Because federal authorities so often need to rely on information provided by whistleblowers to uncover and prosecute Medicare fraud, the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow whistleblowers to file suit on behalf of the government. If the lawsuit is successful, the whistleblower is entitled to share in a portion of any money recovered.
Whistleblowers need to understand their rights under the False Claims Act. The attorneys at Waters & Kraus have the skills and experience you need to help guide you in this process. Contact us or call our whistleblower attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.