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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cape Girardeau Neurosurgeon, Owner Of Medical Device Supplier And Their Two Companies Indicted On Federal Anti-Kickback Charges

Cape Girardeau, MO –MIDWEST NEUROSURGEONS LLC and its owner, DR. SONJAY FONN, and DS MEDICAL LLC and its owner, DEBORAH SEEGER, were indicted for allegedly violating the Medicare Anti-Kickback Statute by conspiring to solicit and receive commissions from medical device manufacturers related to the purchase of spinal implants and supplies used during spinal fusion surgeries performed by Dr. Fonn.

According to the indictment, Dr. Fonn and his fiancée, Ms. Seeger, both of Cape Girardeau, jointly operated DS Medical LLC to serve as the distributor of medical devices and supplies to Dr. Fonn and his neurosurgery practice, Midwest Neurosurgeons LLC. Through DS Medical, Ms. Seeger and DS Medical demanded and were paid exorbitant commissions by medical device manufacturers for medical devices and supplies purchased by the hospital where Dr. Fonn performed spinal fusion surgeries. The hospital’s purchases were based on Dr. Fonn’s decision to use those devices and supplies during operations he performed. According to the indictment, once DS Medical started operating, Dr. Fonn altered the way he practiced medicine, generally using more spinal implants in each of his surgeries while performing more surgeries than he typically performed before or after DS Medical was operating. In December 2008, the first full month of operation for DS Medical, Dr. Fonn ordered approximately $1,330,090 worth of spinal implants for his surgeries, more than twice as much as his nearest medical peer in the local health care market.  The commissions paid to DS Medical and Ms. Seeger by the manufacturers were allegedly used to purchase a house where Dr. Fonn and Seeger resided, a boat, an airplane and various home improvements, which they shared.

Dr. Sonjay J. Fonn, Deborah Seeger, DS Medical, LLC and Midwest Neurosurgeons, LLC were indicted by a federal grand jury today in Cape Girardeau on one felony count of conspiracy to solicit and receive illegal kickbacks and three felony counts of anti-kickback violations.

If convicted, each of the charges against Dr. Fonn and Deborah Seeger carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.  In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Dorothy McMurtry is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated March 19, 2015