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Press Release

Massachusetts Surgeon to Pay $200,000 to Resolve Allegations of Soliciting and Receiving Illegal Kickbacks

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – Massachusetts doctor has agreed to pay $200,000 to resolve allegations that he violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act by soliciting and receiving free products from DePuy Synthes, Inc. and DePuy Synthes Sales, Inc. (collectively “DePuy”), in return for ordering DePuy products for use in his procedures. Doctor used these free products in surgeries he performed overseas in countries including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Qatar. 

In January 2023, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced that DePuy had agreed to pay approximately $9.75 million to resolve allegations related to its role in this conduct. DePuy manufactures and distributes medical devices, including spinal implants, and has headquarters in Raynham, Mass. 

According to the settlement agreement, Dr. Tannoury admits, acknowledges, and accepts responsibility for the facts underlying the government’s allegations. From at least July 2016 through February 2018, Dr. Tannoury received products from DePuy for use in overseas surgeries, including cages, rods, screws, plates, and modular access and retraction systems. He performed at least five surgeries using these products in countries including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Qatar. Dr. Tannoury never paid DePuy for these products that he used overseas and continued to use DePuy products in surgeries in Boston, including for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.  

The Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare and other federally funded programs. The statute is intended to ensure that medical providers’ judgments are not compromised by improper financial incentives and are instead based on the best interests of their patients. The United States contends that Dr. Tannoury knowingly and willfully solicited and received free DePuy products, worth over $100,000, in return for Dr. Tannoury’s ordering, arranging for, and recommending the purchase of DePuy’s products in spine surgeries he performed on Medicare and Medicaid patients in Massachusetts in violation of the AKS.  

“Physicians violate the law when they solicit and receive free goods from medical device manufacturers.  Unlawful kickbacks like these can corrupt medical judgment and create an uneven playing field for companies that play by the rules,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “Today’s settlement reflects our office’s commitment to holding individuals who receive kickbacks accountable under the False Claims Act.”

“Improper financial arrangements can compromise medical judgment and adversely influence the medical decision-making process,” said Roberto Coviello, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. “These types of arrangements have no place in our health care system, and we will continue working together with our federal and state law enforcement partners to pursue such allegations.” 

“Today’s settlement resolves allegations that Dr. Tony Tannoury solicited and received illegal kickbacks, and in doing so, used his patients as pawns,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Boston Division. “Health care fraud has serious costs, and serious consequences, and the FBI will continue to make investigations like this a priority as we work to deter this behavior.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Levy, HHS-OIG SAC Coviello, and FBI SAC Cohen made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica J. Weber and Andrew A. Caffrey, III of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit handled this matter. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is represented by Assistant Attorney General Kevin Lownds.


Updated May 31, 2024

False Claims Act