Florida Man Sentenced to Over 15 Months in Prison and $3.4 Million in Restitution for Health Care Fraud Scheme Involving Liberation Way Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced today that Jesse Peters, 45, of Lake Worth, Florida, has been sentenced to 15 months and one day of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and restitution of $3,405,065 for one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. United States District Judge Wendy Beetlestone presided over the sentencing hearing in Philadelphia via video teleconference. This scheme involved Liberation Way, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization that had treatment centers in Yardley, Bala Cynwyd, and Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.
The defendant participated in an elaborate scheme involving thousands of medically unnecessary urine tests ordered by a co-conspirator and processed by a lab in Florida associated with Peters. The co-conspirator ordered the tests to be performed on samples obtained from Liberation Way patients, even though the co-conspirator never treated any of those patients. The tests were then sent to Florida-based laboratories for a battery of unnecessary tests, and Peters paid kickbacks to principals at Liberation Way in return for directing the samples to his company. Over the course of the conspiracy, Peters kicked back over $1,192,589 to his co-conspirators at Liberation Way in return for sending these unnecessary urine tests to his labs. The defendant pleaded guilty in April 2019.
“Those who think they can profit off of health care fraud are mistaken and may soon find themselves behind bars,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Whether it’s ordering unnecessary laboratory tests to try to get rich quick or any other type of health care fraud, my Office is focused on protecting our nation’s health care system and punishing those who abuse it.”
“Jesse Peters thought he and his co-conspirators had hit upon a surefire moneymaker,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He fully bought into this scheme of unnecessary tests and kickbacks, which cost health benefit programs millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. Anyone involved in, or entertaining, similar activity should know that health care fraud is a priority for the FBI, and we will pursue anyone trying to steal from this country’s vital health care system.”
“Today’s sentencing sends a strong message, health care fraud will not be tolerated,” said Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge, Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “HHS-OIG is committed to working with the Department of Justice, Federal and State law enforcement agencies to root out health care fraud and protect the integrity of U.S. taxpayer dollars.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Beam Winter and Special Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Labar and Kristy Christ.