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Press Release

Omaha Man Sentenced to 46 Months for Healthcare Fraud

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

United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Nereus Sutko, 38, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced today in federal court in Omaha for healthcare fraud. Chief United States District Judge John M. Gerrard sentenced Sutko to 46 months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal prison system. After his release from prison, Sutko will serve a 3-year term of supervised release. Sutko will also be required to pay $809,561 in restitution and will forfeit certain property, including a Corvette and a speedboat.

In 2017, investigators began receiving reports of suspicious billings by Better Lives, LLC. The investigation showed that between 2010 and 2019, Sutko operated Better Lives, an Omaha-based business purporting to sell durable medical equipment to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Sutko hosted pizza parties and other gatherings at senior living residences and low-income housing facilities and obtained healthcare program beneficiaries’ personal and insurance information under the guise of providing free items such as heating pads or shoe inserts. Sutko offered gift cards and other rewards to people who referred healthcare beneficiaries to him or provided him with the names and insurance information of beneficiaries. Sutko then billed healthcare programs, including Medicare, Nebraska Medicaid, and Iowa Medicaid for fitted braces and other durable medical equipment that was never prescribed for nor provided to the beneficiary. Investigators interviewed dozens of beneficiaries throughout their investigation. Sutko primarily targeted beneficiaries in the Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, and Des Moines, Iowa areas. Between 2010 and 2019, Sutko was paid more than $1.8 million by Medicare, Nebraska Medicaid, and Iowa Medicaid. On May 8, 2019, investigators from multiple federal and state agencies executed a search warrant at Sutko’s residence in Omaha and took Sutko into custody on a federal arrest warrant.

United States Attorney Joe Kelly reminds the public that elder fraud and schemes that target and use the elderly are a priority of the Department of Justice.

“Sutko thought his scams would result in riches, but he failed to account for the commitment of our investigators to root out such fraud,” said Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We will continue working with our Federal and State law enforcement partners to protect taxpayers and the integrity of government health programs.”

This case was investigated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Office of Investigations, the Iowa Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud and Patient Abuse Unit with assistance from the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General Office of Investigators.

Updated June 30, 2020

Health Care Fraud