New Jersey Company Agrees to Pay $1.89 Million to Settle Allegations that it Overbilled United States
NEWARK, N.J. – A New Jersey physician and his medical practice will pay $106,255 to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by making false representations in connection with submissions to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
According to the contentions of the United States contained in the settlement agreement:
From Jan. 1, 2016, through March 31, 2020, Vedat Obuz and his medical practice, Lotus Clinics P.C./Lotus Family Medicine, falsely billed certain medical procedures to Medicaid and Medicare by representing that the procedures had been performed by Obuz when, in fact, those procedures were performed by nurse practitioners.
The allegations were originally made in a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Kathleen Menold. The Act permits private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Ms. Menold will receive 20 percent from the federal share of the settlement.
The government’s pursuit of this lawsuit illustrates its efforts to combat healthcare fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips and complaints 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).
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; and special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas Mahoney, with the investigation leading to the settlement.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Meyler of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.
The lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Menold v. Lotus Family Medicine, Vedat Obuz, and Ozlem Obuz, 17-cv-1728 (D.N.J.). The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.