Four Charged in $15 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Four individuals face charges for defrauding Medicare of $15 million in Tennessee.

NASHVILLE – United States Attorney Henry C. Leventis announced today that criminal charges have been filed against four defendants for allegedly defrauding Medicare. These charges are part of the Justice Department’s 2024 National Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action. The defendants are accused of billing Medicare for unnecessary genetic tests, durable medical equipment, and medications obtained through kickbacks.

“Fraud and abuse continue to plague our federal health care programs and divert funds away from deserving patients,” said Leventis. He expressed pride in his office’s efforts in combating health care fraud and appreciated the recognition from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

Attorney General Garland emphasized that the Justice Department will hold accountable anyone who profits from the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, regardless of their position. He stated, “The Justice Department will bring to justice criminals who defraud Americans, steal from taxpayer-funded programs, and put people in danger for the sake of profits.”

The coordinated law enforcement action spanned two weeks and resulted in criminal charges against 193 defendants nationwide. These defendants are accused of participating in health care fraud and opioid abuse schemes, leading to over $2.75 billion in alleged false billings. The government seized over $231 million in assets, including cash, luxury vehicles, and gold.

The charges in Tennessee are part of a broader operation involving multiple enforcement agencies and jurisdictions. Detailed descriptions of the cases involved in the enforcement action are available on the Department’s website.

The investigation and prosecution in Tennessee were conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the FBI.

“We will not tolerate fraud that preys on patients who need and deserve high-quality health care,” said Christi A. Grimm, Inspector General of HHS-OIG. FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas S. DePodesta added, “The FBI is committed to fighting fraud and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

The individuals charged in the Middle District of Tennessee are:

– James Brandon “Brady” Washburn, 44, of Franklin, Tennessee, and Robert Houston McDowell, 43, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They face charges related to health care fraud, conspiracy, and kickbacks involving unnecessary genetic tests, medications, and durable medical equipment.

– Paulo R. Costa, 36, of Palm City, Florida, and Mark J.W. Carr, 35, of Lighthouse Point, Florida. They are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and kickbacks in a scheme involving multiple pharmacies in Tennessee.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah K. Bogni and Robert S. Levine are prosecuting these cases. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

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