A New York City Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Kickback Fraud
Accepting or offering kickbacks for referrals for medical services is a federal crime. According to the Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, § 6402(f)(2), 124 Stat 119 (2010), a defendant does not need to be aware of anti-kickback laws in order to be accused of violating them and to face penalties. If a prosecutor can demonstrate intent to offer, pay, or receive a bribe for referrals for medical services, you can face civil and criminal consequences for kickback fraud.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC provides legal representation to doctors, healthcare providers, and other individuals and businesses who have been accused of violating anti kickback laws. If you are accused of kickback fraud, give us a call to get help from a New York City defense attorney with experience in this complex area of law.
What is an Illegal Kickback?
It is illegal to offer to pay, or to solicit or accept, any type of bribe in connection with referring someone to receive medical services. Kickback fraud can occur when:
- A doctor sends a patient to a colleague for services and ask for payment of the referral.
- A doctor tells a clinic, other physician, or other care provider that he will pay for each patient sent to him.
- A pharmaceutical company or a medical device company says it will pay a doctor or care provider for each person who is prescribed a particular drug or medical device.
- A lab or medical service provider indicates to a doctor or other caregiver that it will pay for each patient who is referred for service.
In these and other situations, the key question is whether money was offered in order to entice a care provider to refer someone for services, or whether the promise of an incentive was the reason for referring a patient for services.
Most courts have held that kickback fraud can occur even if there were other reasons for the referral or the compensation, as long as one purpose of the financial incentive was to compensate for a referral or to solicit referrals.
Penalties for Illegal Kickbacks
Kickback fraud is a serious type of healthcare fraud that can have profound consequences. 42 United States Code Section 1320a-7b(b) punishes defendants for receiving illegal remunerations in connection with any claims made to federal healthcare programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. The relevant code section imposes a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a fine up to $25,000 for kickback fraud.
A violation of anti-kickback laws could also lead to civil fines, to a civil action under the False Claims Act, and to triple damages for money fraudulently paid out by the government for medical services delivered as part of an illegal kickback scheme.
Defendants need to understand the potential consequences associated with illegal kickbacks and should ensure they do everything possible to protect their interests when charged.
How a New York City Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
If you need help from a New York City criminal defense lawyer with experience in kickback fraud cases, contact Bukh Law Firm, PLLC today. Our experienced legal team understands federal laws on healthcare and pharmaceutical fraud and we have extensive experience with cases where defendants are accused of paying, soliciting, or accepting money in exchange for medical referrals.
We aim to make it difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that financial incentives were involved in medical referrals, and we try hard to help you avoid conviction. Call now so we can begin developing a comprehensive legal strategy to address civil and criminal issues you face due to an allegation of kickback fraud.