The COVID-19 pandemic has left countless people worldwide vulnerable and afraid. The Office of the Attorney General has urged Michiganders to stay vigilant and aware of possible scams looking to exploit people during the pandemic. Federal stimulus checks have been stolen by thieves in phone scams on unsuspecting people for example. A Shelby Township medical and spa facility has now been the first federally charged in Metro Detroit for selling fake COVID-19 treatments and preventative measures to exploit the pandemic for monetary gain.
The main doctor at Allure Medical Spa in Shelby Township is accused of health care fraud for offering vitamin C infusions as COVID-19 treatments. This doctor has touted many of his treatments on YouTube and during appearances on local TV shows. Federal prosecutors allege that he was using the pandemic to fraudulently administer unapproved treatments and fraudulently bill those treatments to Medicare, labeling them as varicose vein treatments. A cooperating witness has allegedly turned over records to investigators that the doctor had submitted at least 98 claims to insurance companies related to these fraudulent treatments. The doctor proclaimed that the vitamin C treatments reduced the length and severity of COVID-19 symptoms, while also allegedly recognizing that vitamin C treatments are not approved by any medical agency, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He is also accused in the complaint of seeking to steal competitors’ clients due to his defiance of the state order against non-essential businesses. While his competitors closed in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s order, Allure treated 950 patients in the three weeks after the order took effect on March 24. Proper protocols related to cleanliness and hygiene were also a major problem at Allure as five clinic employees continued to work despite testing positive for COVID-19. These employees directly treated patients even though the majority of the clinic’s patients are over 50 years old with underlying health conditions.
Charges And Potential Sentence
The doctor at Allure Medical Spa has been charged by the federal government with two separate counts: health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He has been charged in the Eastern District Court in Detroit pursuant to a 47-page complaint detailing the allegations against him. A charge of health care fraud involves allegations that someone intended to defraud a health care benefits program such as Medicare. Allegations like this can lead to a conviction when backed up by documents showing fraudulent billings, or when unnecessary treatments are performed on patients. A conviction of health care fraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, along with up to $250,000 in fines. A charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud involved allegations that someone was involved in an agreed-upon scheme to defraud a health care benefits program. A charge of conspiracy is a sort of catch-all charge for prosecutors as it does not require them to prove the underlying illegal act, only that an agreement was made to commit an illegal act. A charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud carries the same penalties as health care fraud itself. If convicted, this doctor will likely face prison time as well as heavy fines and restitution. A conviction would signal the likely payback of millions of dollars that are alleged to have been illegally obtained by the doctor and clinic. Health care fraud accounts for over $100 billion each year in the United States. These charges are considered a top priority within the federal government’s complex financial crime program.
Any Further Questions?
If you have any additional questions relating to this case or anything else related to federal health care fraud, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge or is currently being investigated for a possible criminal charge, then it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing clients in both federal and state court respectively. We are a criminal defense firm, it’s all we do. We are available by phone on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.