OIG Takes Down the Largest Bribery Ring of Medical Professionals
Lately it seems that the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) focus is on fraud and abuse of federal healthcare dollars via the False Claims Act; however, a case in Newark, N.J., has proven that the Anti-Kickback Statute also is being enforced in a big way. A Staten Island doctor, Ahmed El Soury, has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for a test-referral bribery scheme with clinical laboratory, Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services, LLC (BLS). El Soury violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Federal Travel Act, and the honest services wire fraud statute.
According to a Nov. 8 Department of Justice news release:
El Soury admitted accepting cash bribes in return for referring patient blood specimens to BLS. From March 2011 through April 2013, El Soury received bribes totaling more than $66,000 from BLS employees and associates. El Soury’s referrals generated approximately $650,000 in lab business for BLS.
The investigation has thus far resulted in 51 convictions – 37 of them doctors – in connection with the bribery scheme, which its organizers have admitted involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies. It is believed to be the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case.
More than $13 million has been recovered in this case. BLS pleaded guilty, forfeited all assets, and is no longer in business.