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Press Release

Kentucky Physician Sentenced for Unlawful Kickback Conspiracy

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

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A resident of Louisville, Kentucky, was sentenced in federal court today for one count of conspiracy to solicit and receive unlawful kickbacks, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced.

United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson sentenced John Baird, 55, a physician, to five years of probation, including two years of home detention.  Baird was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $567,609.36 to Medicare.

During the defendant’s plea hearing on July 16, 2018, Baird admitted that while practicing as a licensed physician specializing in physical medicine, rehabilitation, and pain treatment, he entered into an illegal kickbacks-for-referrals conspiracy with Williams Hughes, the owner and operator of Universal Oral Fluid Labs (“UOFL”), a clinical drug-testing laboratory in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  Pursuant to their arrangement, Baird received cash payments from UOFL in exchange for referring patients—including patients covered under Medicare—to the lab for drug testing services.  Hughes, through UOFL, then submitted to, and received reimbursements from, Medicare for drug testing services for patients referred to the lab by Baird.  As enrolled Medicare providers, Baird and UOFL were required to certify that they would comply with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations, including the federal anti-kickback prohibition.  Baird further admitted that between May 2012 and July 2013, he received $567,609.36 in kickbacks from UOFL for his drug testing referrals.

Hughes separately pleaded guilty for conspiring to offer and pay kickbacks in connection with Medicaid referrals made by another Kentucky physician.  On July 13, 2021, United States District Judge David S. Cercone sentenced Hughes to sixty days’ incarceration, followed by twelve months of home detention.  Hughes was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, forfeit more than $750,000 in previously seized assets, and make restitution totaling $1,670,469.77 to the Kentucky Medicaid Program.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Baird.

Updated November 23, 2021

Financial Fraud