Bristol, Tennessee Man Sentenced for Healthcare Kickback Scheme
ABINGDON, Va. – A Bristol, Tennessee man was sentenced today to three months of home confinement for conspiring with another man to pay and receive kickbacks. In addition to home confinement, he will pay $56,000 in monetary penalties and will be permanently excluded from participating in federal healthcare programs.
According to court documents, John Paul Linke, 58, conspired to receive and pay kickbacks to encourage urine drug screen testing performed by a lab in Florida. Some of the testing referred to the lab was paid for by Medicare, Virginia Medicaid, and TennCare. Co-conspirator Michael Olshavasky, of Miami, Florida, will be sentenced on September 22, 2021.
“The defendant’s diversion of critical federal and state funds that were needed to target the opioid crisis for his own greed is unconscionable,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bubar stated today. “We will continue to prioritize prosecuting health care fraud cases, and that we will continue to work closely with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, and our other critical federal and state partners, to bring such providers to justice.”
“Healthcare providers who use kickback schemes like this one are not only defrauding our healthcare system, but they’re also stealing from Virginia taxpayers just to line their own pockets,” said Attorney General Herring. “Virginians trust their healthcare providers to make the best decisions for their patients without monetary gain or outside influence. I want to thank my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for their work on this case as well as our local, state, and federal partners for their ongoing collaboration on cases where individuals try and defraud our Medicaid and Medicare systems.”
“Those who seek to profit off the opioid crisis through illegal schemes make the problem worse,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office. “We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who, through their dishonesty, jeopardize the public health.”
Between November 30, 2015, and May 30, 2016, Linke was employed at an office-based opioid treatment program that used medication-assisted treatment for patients suffering from substance use disorder. In exchange for being paid $5,000 per month, Linke arranged for the clinic to send urine drug screen samples to the laboratory in Florida where Olshavasky worked. These payments were disguised as commissions paid to Linke as an “independent sales representative” for Olshavsky’s company, Encore Holdings LLC. Olshavasky paid Linke at least $16,000 through Encore Holdings to direct WRC’s drug screening business to the Florida lab, although Linke was not actually an independent sales representative for Encore, and he did not act as such.
The Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, the Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Virginia State Police investigated the case.
Special Assistant United States Attorney Janine M. Myatt and Assistant United States Attorneys Randy Ramseyer and Whit Pierce prosecuted the case for the United States.