Suffolk man pleads guilty to $2M health insurance fraud scheme
Published 4:23 pm Thursday, October 26, 2023
A Suffolk man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud health insurance programs of more than $2 million through fraudulent claims for braces and other medical equipment. Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Elizabeth W. Hanes accepted the plea.
According to court documents, in 2017, Julian Latty, 40, and his co-conspirator Jordan Thomas Broome, 37, of Texas, formed a Virginia Beach company called Beach Medical Suppliers LLC (Beach Medical). They registered Beach Medical to receive Medicare reimbursements in 2018. For the next two years, Latty and Broome used Beach Medical to fraudulently bill Medicare for over $4 million in reimbursements for durable medical equipment, which included back braces and knee braces. They obtained the personally identifiable information of Medicare beneficiaries and then paid doctors to sign prescriptions for braces that the beneficiaries did not need. Between Dec. 4, 2018, and Oct. 7, 2020, Beach Medical billed Medicare for durable medical equipment reimbursement for approximately 2,025 beneficiaries who had no prior relationship with the doctor who signed the prescription. Beach Medical also billed other healthcare benefit programs, such as Medicaid and Tricare, for fraudulent claims. The investigation started when beneficiaries complained to Medicare that they were receiving braces in the mail that they had never requested.
In December 2019, Latty and Broome met with an attorney Beach Medical had retained who advised them that its operations were likely illegal. However, they continued to submit fraudulent reimbursements until federal authorities executed a search warrant at Beach Medical’s offices in September 2020.
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In March 2023, Broome was sentenced to 66 months of imprisonment for his role in the conspiracy.
Latty is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 29, 2024. He faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Gantt is prosecuting the case.