Florida Doctor Sentenced for Substance Abuse Treatment Fraud Scheme | OPA

A Florida medical doctor was sentenced today to 20 a long time in prison for participating in a huge multi-year scheme to invoice well being care gain programs for fraudulent tests and remedies for susceptible individuals trying to get cure for drug and/or alcohol dependancy. This situation was introduced as section of the Section of Justice’s Sober Households Initiative.

“For practically a ten years, Michael Ligotti exploited susceptible people trying to find addiction treatment, a reprehensible abuse of have faith in by a medical professional,” claimed Assistant Lawyer Normal Kenneth A. Well mannered, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This defendant will now provide many several years in federal jail for employing his health care license to authorize fraudulent assessments and treatment options for addicted people at cure facilities and sober houses during South Florida. This marks the largest dependancy fraud treatment circumstance ever charged by the Section of Justice, demonstrating our continuing commitment to tackling wellbeing treatment fraud throughout the nation.”

According to courtroom paperwork, Michael J. Ligotti, D.O., 48, of Delray Seaside, served as Healthcare Director or Authorizing Physician for around 50 sober properties, substance abuse procedure facilities, and clinical tests laboratories in the Palm Beach front County region, usually signing standing orders for highly-priced, medically unwanted urine drug exams for sufferers at many addiction treatment method facilities. These services routinely despatched patients’ urine specimens to clinical tests laboratories, which then billed health treatment gain systems for unwanted urine drug tests, typically countless numbers of pounds for a one take a look at. In trade for Ligotti’s authorization of these urine drug exams, the procedure centers expected their clients to consistently check out Ligotti’s clinic, Complete Well being LLC, for extra treatment and tests, or permitted Ligotti’s employees to occur to their services to carry out assessments and treatment there. This authorized Ligotti to gain by billing patients’ non-public wellbeing insurance policies ideas for duplicative, medically unwanted, and pricey urine drug tests, blood tests, and other habit therapies. As a consequence of this carry out, which took area from 2011 to 2020, overall health care profit packages have been billed in excess of $746 million and paid out around $127 million for fraudulent urine drug tests and habit treatment plans. Ligotti pleaded responsible to conspiracy to dedicate wellbeing care and wire fraud in the Southern District of Florida in October 2022 and was purchased now to surrender his professional medical license.  

“The victims are actual, and the losses are enormous,” stated Performing Particular Agent in Demand Chad Yarbrough of the FBI Miami Area Place of work. “Instead of making sure the correct procedure of the susceptible sufferers underneath his treatment in around 50 sober residences, Michael J. Ligotti gamed the method for tens of millions of dollars in unwell-gotten gains. The investigators who unraveled this scam are to be commended for their diligence and determination. The FBI and our partners will carry on to pursue individuals individuals who use our well being treatment system to prey on the vulnerable and steal from the taxpayers.”

“The final results in this situation boost our determination and dedication to go after individuals who would defraud Amtrak’s health care applications and concentrate on susceptible populations,” claimed Special Agent in Charge Mike Waters of the Amtrak Office of Inspector General’s Eastern Industry Office. “Our agents will go on to function intently with the job power and spouse businesses to keep perpetrators accountable and shield Amtrak’s means, its staff, and their dependents.”

The FBI Miami Division Palm Beach front Resident Agency, with help from DEA West Palm Beach Diversion Team IRS Legal Investigation Miami Subject Place of work Amtrak Place of work of Inspector Common Division of Labor ERISA Florida Section of Economic Companies, Division of Investigative and Forensic Companies and Palm Beach County Place of work of the Point out Attorney investigated the scenario.

Senior Litigation Counsel James V. Hayes and Trial Legal professional Ligia M. Markman of the Felony Division’s Fraud Part and Assistant U.S. Lawyer Alexandra Chase, Chief, Transnational, Trafficking & Cyber Crimes Unit for the Southern District of Florida prosecuted the circumstance.

The Countrywide Fast Response Strike Force, Los Angeles Strike Drive, and Miami Strike Pressure of the Legal Division, Fraud Part, and the U.S. Attorneys’ Places of work for the Southern District of Florida and Central District of California guide the Office of Justice’s Sober Houses Initiative, which was initiated in September 2020 to prosecute defendants who exploit vulnerable sufferers in search of therapy for drug and/or alcohol addiction. Because its inception, the Sober Households Initiative has resulted in costs and responsible pleas or convictions involving 28 prison defendants in two judicial districts in link with above $1 billion in alleged phony billings for fraudulent exams and remedies for susceptible patients searching for remedy for drug and/or liquor habit.