PORTLAND, Ore. – On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, United States District Court Judge Robert E. Jones sentenced Anthony C. Neal to one year and one day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Neal pleaded guilty in July 2016 to engaging in a seven-year health care fraud scheme and conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Neal was also ordered to pay $1,702,567 in restitution to Medicare, Care Oregon and several private health insurance companies and $817,378 to the IRS.
Court documents show that the defendant and his deceased father, Dr. Dean Neal, operated 20/20 Eye Care, an ophthalmology practice in Gresham, Oregon. The defendant ran the practice’s day-to-day business operations, including its public and private health insurance billings. From 2007 through November 2013, the defendant and Dr. Neal routinely subjected many of their patients to medically unnecessary diagnostic tests and fraudulently billed insurance plans for these services. In addition, the defendant and his father fraudulently submitted bills for higher-cost tests when patients were actually receiving lower-cost tests. The two then fraudulently double-billed various insurance plans.
The defendant and Dr. Neal also defrauded the IRS of $817,378 in income taxes from 2009 through 2014 by engaging in a complicated scheme to conceal business revenue and personal income using a straw company. The defendant and his father transferred most of 20/20 Eye Care’s revenue to the straw company and used it to pay for nearly $3 million in personal expenses, willfully failing to report any of this revenue to the IRS. These personal expenses included the partial construction of a multi-million dollar home for the defendant and his wife. The defendant and his father’s failure to file tax returns for 20/20 Eye Care or their straw company resulted in their concealing of nearly $8 million in business revenue from the IRS.
"Health insurance fraud drives up the cost of medical care for honest, hardworking Americans and illegally enriches those who take advantage of a system designed to help people address their personal medical needs," said Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. "This is why the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General make it a priority to investigate and prosecute these cases. Moreover, all business owners have a legal obligation to pay their fair share of taxes," continued U.S. Attorney Williams. "We will continue to partner with the IRS to identify and prosecute those who do not."
"This time of year, when most Americans are fulfilling their lawful obligation to timely file an accurate tax return, cases like Anthony Neal’s serve as a vivid reminder of the potential consequences of allowing greed to silence duty" said Darrell Walton, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation. "IRS Special Agents stand at the ready to enforce the law and make sure there is a level playing field for everyone."
This case was investigated by the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigations and the Oregon Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud Unit, and prosecuted by Seth D. Uram and Donna Brecker Maddux, Assistant United States Attorneys for the District of Oregon.