23 June 2010

2 Guilty in $23M Michigan Medicare Fraud

Associated Press

Detroit -- A federal jury in Detroit has convicted two people of health care fraud and conspiracy.

The Justice Department said they billed Medicare for $23.2 million in fake therapy services.

Tuesday's verdict was against Bernice Brown and Daniel Smorynski. The government said Brown owned Wayne County Therapeutic Inc. in Livonia, a physical and occupational therapy clinic. Smorynski was vice president.

The government said they billed Medicare for physical and occupational therapy services in 2002-06 that the company didn't provide. It said Medicare paid more than $6 million in Medicare reimbursements between June 1, 2005, and May 31, 2006, according to one court filing.

The verdict stemmed from a $50 million Medicare fraud case unveiled by the federal government last year in which Metro Detroit was at the center. The fraud case involved 53 defendants -- 40 in local sweeps conducted June 24, 2009 -- and included four doctors. At the center were physical therapy and injection or infusion therapy clinics.

Federal court records filed in 2007 show federal agents seized more than $250,000 in cash and a 2006 Ford van from Brown in connection with a Medicare fraud investigation involving alleged billings for fictitious patients.

The charges carry up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Smorynski lawyer Thomas Warshaw declined comment. Phone and e-mail messages were left for Brown lawyer Fred B. Walker after business hours Tuesday.

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