BATON ROUGE DOCTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO RECEIVE HEALTH CARE KICKBACK PAYMENTS
BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that GRAY WESLEY BARROW, age 58, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty for his role in a scheme to receive approximately $336,000 in illegal health care kickback payments. As a result of his conviction, BARROW faces a significant term of imprisonment, restitution and fines, and a period of supervised release.
BARROW was a co-owner of Louisiana Spine & Sports LLC, a pain management clinic located in Baton Rouge. According to plea documents, the charge stems from BARROW’s role in agreeing to send urine specimens collected from his patients to a drug testing laboratory in return for a percentage of the reimbursements paid to the laboratory by health care benefit programs, including Medicare. In a hearing before U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, BARROW admitted that from approximately April 2014 through July 2016, he sent specimens collected from his patients to the drug testing laboratory and received approximately $336,000 in disbursements from the laboratory associated with testing for Medicare beneficiaries.
U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “This plea is a product of the hard work our office, in coordination with the Department of Justice Fraud Division, Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have put in to bring Medicare Fraud participants to Justice. It is especially egregious when medical doctors violate their position of trust in the community and the Medicare system to enrich themselves. I want to thank the Department of Justice Fraud Division, the FBI, and Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General for their efforts in this case.”
“Any time greed replaces medical judgment as the motivating factor behind medical procedures, our country’s citizens and health insurance programs suffer,” said Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the United States Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General’s Dallas Regional Office. “This office will continue the important mission of protecting the financial integrity of our nation’s health care systems and ensuring that medical providers are rendering legitimate medical services, and will identify and bring to justice those who deliberately manipulate federally funded health insurance programs to obtain Medicare or Medicaid dollars to which they are not entitled.”
Eric J. Rommal, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stated, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to be dedicated to eliminating health care fraud in Louisiana and nationwide. This case serves as a testament to the tenacity and perseverance of Agents of not only the FBI, but also our partners in the Department of Health and Human Services - Office of the Inspector General, when investigating a complex and long-term fraud scheme. It is our hope that this case will serve as a lesson to medical professionals everywhere that those committing health care fraud in any capacity will be thoroughly investigated and recommended for prosecution.”
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in 14 cities across the country, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.
This matter is being handled by the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Field Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Dustin M. Davis and Trial Attorney Justin M. Woodard of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth E. White.