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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fort Myers Durable Medical Equipment Providers Sentenced To Prison For Payment Of Illegal Kickbacks

Fort Myers, FL – U.S. District Court Judge John E. Steele has sentenced Ryan Williamson (50, Fort Myers) and William Pierce (50, Virginia) to one year in prison, and nine months’ imprisonment, respectively, for conspiring to pay unlawful kickbacks to a local doctor for referring patients to A&G Spinal Solutions, LLC (“A&G Spinal”) – the defendants’ durable medical equipment company. As part of their sentences, the Court also entered money judgments against Williamson in the amount of $1,593,564.54, and against Pierce in the amount of $803,007.25, the proceeds of the conspiracy. Both men had previously pleaded guilty.

According to the plea agreements, beginning in 2010, Williamson and Pierce conspired with Dr. Michael Frey, an interventional pain management doctor operating in Fort Myers, to pay compensation to Frey in exchange for referrals to their company (A&G Spinal). A&G Spinal then paid a percentage of the resulting profits via checks (made payable to Frey’s wife), who was unaware of the scheme and was not associated with A&G Spinal. In addition, from 2013 to 2015, Williamson also paid kickbacks to Frey in exchange for patient referrals for compound pharmaceutical pain cream prescriptions.

Frey has pleaded guilty for his role in both schemes and is currently awaiting sentencing.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rachel Jones and Simon Eth, with the assistance from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Service – Office of Inspector General.

Today’s resolution illustrates the government’s commitment to combating improper practices that implicate the nation’s federally subsidized health care programs, using all statutory and common law remedies available to address such schemes. Tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477). The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

Topic(s): 
Health Care Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated October 4, 2018