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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 19, 2016

Middle Tennessee Physicians And Owners Of Medical Equipment Companies Plead Guilty In Kickback Schemes

Dr. Bruce Rubinowicz, 53, of Aventura, Florida and previously of Franklin, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today to one count of soliciting and receiving a cash kickback in exchange for patient referrals, announced David Rivera, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.  

During a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger, Rubinowicz admitted that, as a physician who operated several sleep labs in Middle Tennessee, he agreed to receive cash kickbacks in exchange for referring patients to Air Affiliates, a Nashville based medical supplier.  Rubinowicz admitted accepting a total of $22,900 in cash kickbacks, in exchange for referring patients to Air Affiliates, who provided these patients continuous positive airway pressure (“CPAP”) ventilators.  Rubinowicz further acknowledged that some of the patients he referred in exchange for cash payments were Medicare beneficiaries.

Rubinowicz faces up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine when he is sentenced by Judge Trauger on May 13, 2016.  His sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes. 

This guilty plea follows several other recent convictions in this district involving individuals who paid for or accepted cash kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals, including:

  • On August 6, 2015, Bradley Sensing, 55, of Nashville, pleaded guilty to one count of paying cash kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals.  Sensing was the owner of Air Affiliates, a company that provided CPAP ventilators.  Sensing is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Campbell on May 9, 2016.
  • On November 10, 2015, Lane Wilkinson, 67, of Spring Hill, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting and receiving cash kickbacks from a supplier in exchange for making referrals for medical equipment.  Wilkinson was the owner and operator of a medical equipment supply company located in Columbia Tennessee.  Wilkinson is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell on March 7, 2016.  Wilkinson and Sensing also face up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
  • On November 12, 2015, Dr. Thomasz Zurawek, 52, of Centerville, Tennessee, was sentenced by Judge Trauger to two months in prison and a term of supervised release in connection with his role in a kickback scheme.  Zurawek had pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting and receiving cash kickbacks from a medical equipment supplier in exchange for referring patients to that supplier.

These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.  The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William F. Abely and Thomas J. Jaworski.

 

Topic(s): 
Health Care Fraud
Updated February 23, 2016