Tennessee Podiatrist Sentenced for $4M Fraud Scheme

Nathan Lucas sentenced for defrauding Medicare and TennCare with unnecessary foot bath medications.

Memphis, TN – A Tennessee podiatrist was sentenced to four years in prison for a scheme to defraud Medicare and TennCare by prescribing and dispensing medically unnecessary foot bath medications, obtaining millions of dollars in reimbursements.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Nathan Lucas, D.P.M., 59, of Memphis, owned and operated a podiatry clinic and two pharmacies. Lucas regularly prescribed antibiotic and antifungal drugs to be mixed into a tub of water for patients to soak their feet. These medications included capsules, creams, and powders that were not suitable for dissolution in water, with some not even being water-soluble. Lucas prescribed and dispensed these medications based on their anticipated reimbursement amounts rather than medical necessity. From October 2018 through September 2021, Lucas caused his pharmacies to submit nearly $4 million in claims to Medicare and TennCare for dispensing these expensive foot bath medications, which were not medically necessary and not eligible for reimbursement. Lucas’s pharmacies were reimbursed over $3 million.

A federal jury convicted Lucas on March 18 of five counts of health care fraud.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee; Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Director David Rausch of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) made the announcement.

HHS-OIG and TBI investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Sara E. Porter and Assistant Chief Justin M. Woodard of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, currently comprising nine strike forces operating in 27 federal districts, has charged more than 5,400 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $27 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.

Updated June 27, 2024


Components: Criminal Division

Criminal – Criminal Fraud Section

USAO – Tennessee, Western

Source: Read Original Release

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