Identity theft is a common fear and a common problem. Readers of this blog know that identity theft is a problem that reaches beyond the financial sphere. Quite often, health care fraud cases involve an element of medical identity theft. In a previous post, our medical identity theft lawyer discussed the problem of scammers stealing consumers’ medical identities and using the information to submit and collect on false claims. However, consumers are not the only targets of medical identity theft. Provider identity theft is also a component of many health care fraud scams, criminal enterprises that divert critically needed health care dollars and endanger the health and well-being of countless Americans.
Clinic Owner Allegedly Filed Claims Using Former Owner’s Provider Information
In late August 2012, NBC New York reported on the arrest of a man who operated a radiology practice in Queens on charges that he engaged in health care fraud. According to the article, a 34 year-old man by the name of Ting Huan Tai was taken into custody by federal agents who arrested him at his luxury apartment in a Lower Manhattan high-rise. In May 2010, as alleged in court filings, Tai took over operations at United Medical Diagnosis (“UMD”), a radiology clinic in Flushing, New York. From May 2010 through May 2012, Tai and his staff allegedly used the identity of the clinic’s prior owner, a radiologist, to submit more than $30 million in claims to Medicare and Medicaid. The claimed services were not actually performed and the bills were submitted without the knowledge or consent of the former UMD owner. United States Attorney Loretta Lynch explained, “The defendant sought to enrich himself and fund his lifestyle first by stealing a doctor’s identity and then using that stolen identity to steal Medicare and Medicaid funds…While the documentation provided was a sham, the money stolen was very real.”