Father and Son Who Defrauded Numerous State Affordable Care Act Programs Sentenced to Prison
Two California residents were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford for defrauding Affordable Care Act programs in at least 12 states of more than $27 million. JEFFREY WHITE, 63, was sentenced to 36 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release, and NICHOLAS WHITE, 35, was sentenced to 13 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Both defendants reside in Twin Peaks, California.
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the sentencings occurred via videoconference.
U.S. Attorney John H. Durham of the District of Connecticut, Special Agent in Charge Phillip Coyne of the Boston Regional Office of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, Special Agent in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI’s New Haven Division, Acting Special Agent in Charge Ramsey E. Covington of IRS Criminal Investigation in New England, and Inspector in Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Jeffrey White and his son, Nicholas White, conspired to defraud health care plans operating under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA,” commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) in Connecticut and other states by fraudulently enrolling individuals in ACA plans in states where the individuals did not live. In order to further the conspiracy, the Whites created phony residential leases using fictitious landlords in various states, including locations in Danbury, Farmington, Hartford and Norwalk, Connecticut. The Whites also used an online application to obtain false cell phone numbers for the individuals with area codes that made it appear that the individuals lived at the fictitious addresses, and provided the false cell phone numbers to the ACA plans. If anyone at the ACA plan called the false local number, the call would ring through to a phone controlled by the Whites.
In order to enroll the individuals in an ACA plan, the Whites paid the insurance premiums for the individuals, and also paid to have the individuals transported to California where the individuals were placed in expensive residential substance abuse treatment programs. The treatment programs then billed the ACA plans for thousands of dollars of treatment each week, including claims for expensive laboratory tests such as blood or urine toxicology screenings.
The treatment programs paid the Whites thousands of dollars in kickbacks for each referral, and some programs arranged for the Whites to receive a percentage of the money the treatment programs received from the ACA health insurance plans. In order to maximize their proceeds from the fraud scheme, the Whites enrolled the individuals in ACA plans in states that paid the highest amount for substance abuse treatment, even though the individuals did not live in those states.
The Whites have admitted that their scheme resulted in more than $27 million in losses to ACA plans across the country, including plans in Connecticut, Arizona, California, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.
Although the Whites personally profited approximately $1 million through this scheme, they were ordered to pay restitution in the approximate amount of $27,617,000.
October 12, 2018, Jeffrey White and Nicolas White each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Jeffrey and Nicholas White, who are released on bond, are required to report to prison on August 24 and May 5, respectively.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that this case is believed to be the first of its kind involving fraudulent enrollment of individuals in ACA plans on a national scale.
This investigation has been conducted by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the Connecticut Affordable Care Act exchange, known as Access Health CT, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California for their assistance with the investigation.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Sheldon with the assistance of Auditor Susan N. Spiegel.