ATLANTA - Brett Weiner and Valerie Desalvo have pled guilty to federal conspiracy charges for their role in buying and selling fake doctors’ orders used to obtain over $1.5 million in fraudulent payments from Medicare.
“Durable Medical Equipment fraud schemes involve much more than simply bilking the Medicare system,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “These schemes exploit our most vulnerable citizens in the name of personal greed, and our office is committed to finding and prosecuting those involved.”
“Health care fraud is all about the money,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Hopefully this case and the work of our special agents with their financial expertise will be a deterrent to anyone thinking about abusing federal healthcare programs to line their own pockets.”
“Kickbacks can corrupt medical decision-making, resulting in medically unnecessary durable medical equipment and services. Such schemes can affect the availability of medically needed services and drive up the cost of health care for everyone,” stated Special Agent in Charge Tamala Miles with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “Individuals and entities that participate in the federal health care system are required to obey the laws meant to preserve the integrity of program funds and the provision of appropriate, quality services to patients.”
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Brett Weiner and Valerie Desalvo owned and operated Laboratory Marketing Services, LLC (“LMS”), a business in Boca Raton, Florida. LMS was in the business of, among other things, receiving kickback payments in exchange for patient “leads,” consisting of billable Medicare beneficiaries’ personal identifying information. Defendants Weiner and Desalvo received bribes from DME companies such as Medihealth Medical Solutions, LLC, located in Amory, Mississippi, and Liberty Medical DME, LLC, in Atlanta, Georgia, in exchange for the leads. These “leads” included, among other information, each Medicare beneficiary’s name, Medicare number, diagnoses, pain level, and primary care physician.
Through LMS, Weiner and Desalvo also bought and sold signed doctors’ orders from Nagaindra Srivastav and his company B2B Apps Solutions, LLC in Tampa, Florida, which they sold to DME companies. A substantial portion of the doctors’ orders that Weiner and Desalvo purchased from Srivastav and B2B contained forged signatures or purported approvals of physicians or other health care providers whose names and professional identifying information were used without their authorization or knowledge.
In total, Weiner and Desalvo, through LMS, caused the submission of more than $.15 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, which generated approximately $715,000 in payments, for braces that were procured through the payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes and were ineligible for Medicare reimbursement.
Brett Weiner, 61, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Valerie Desalvo, 58, of Boca Raton, Florida, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks. Sentencing is scheduled for February 8, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. O'Neal is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.