Medicare Fraud Scheme Lands Clarence Center Man in Prison for 7.5 Years

A Clarence Center man has been sentenced to 7 ½ years in federal prison for his involvement in a scheme that led to $29 million in false Medicare claims. Jeffrey Brooks, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and has been ordered to pay more than $15.2 million in restitution to Medicare and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Brooks operated several durable medical equipment companies in Florida and a call center in South Carolina. The companies were enrolled Medicare providers, and Brooks paid another person to appear as the owner on Medicare paperwork to conceal his ownership. Evidence presented in court showed that Brooks and his co-conspirators purchased Medicare beneficiaries’ personal information from call centers and induced them to accept medical braces, regardless of medical necessity.

They then paid a telemedicine company illegal kickbacks to obtain a medical practitioner’s signature on the doctors’ orders, which were then used to submit false claims to Medicare and the VA health program. Medicare paid approximately $15.2 million on those false claims, while the VA program paid $22,795. The money received from these claims was transferred to Brooks through bank accounts in the name of his company.

In addition to the prison sentence, Brooks has been ordered to pay restitution and is facing a civil settlement for providing kickbacks and causing false claims to be submitted. Tamala E. Miles, special agent in charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, stated that Brooks knowingly enabled theft from Medicare and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Brooks’ attorney, Joel Hirschhorn, confirmed that Brooks has sold his home in Clarence, New York. Property records show that Brooks sold his home, including a 4,844-square-foot, six-bedroom, five-bathroom home, for $1.25 million. With the sentencing of Brooks, the U.S. Justice Department is sending a strong message against healthcare fraud and the misuse of Medicare funds.