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Case Number: 8:21-cr-00028-CEH-JSS
Judge: Charlene Edwards Honeywell
Court: United States District Court for the District of ( County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office
Description: Tampa, Florida fraud charge criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant, Kelly Wolfe, of of Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, was charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and filing a false tax return.
According to court documents, Wolfe and her conspirators used Regency to establish dozens of DME supply companies — or, rather, DME fronts — using trickery and deception. The scheme involved placing the DME fronts in the names of straw owners. By concealing the true ownership, Wolfe’s conspirators secretly gained control of multiple companies. With such control, they collectively submitted well over $400 million in illegal DME claims to Medicare and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA. The conspirators claimed that the unusually high volume of claims reflected the use of telemedicine procedures, when, in fact, they had simply bribed doctors to approve them. Almost always, the doctors had no telehealth interaction with the beneficiaries.
Wolfe further admitted that, for tax year 2017, she had purchased numerous personal items and services using Regency’s funds. Rather than properly report this as income to the IRS, Wolfe falsely classified her personal spending as purported business expenditures.
In addition to Wolfe’s criminal plea, Wolfe and Regency have agreed to a civil settlement of up to $20,332,516, to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act in a number of ways, including falsifying documentation in order to fraudulently establish DME corporations to bill for medically unnecessary DME equipment, and engaging in improper marketing practices that violated the Anti-Kickback Statute. The civil settlement is based on Wolfe and Regency’s ability to pay. The United States previously obtained an emergency temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction enjoining the conduct and assets of Wolfe, Regency, and several of their alleged co-conspirators, in a civil injunctive action pursued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. The injunctive action is captioned U.S. v. Regency, Inc., et al., No. 8:19-cv-803 (M.D. Fla.).
The civil settlement includes the resolution of claims brought under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act against Wolfe and Regency by Condra Albright, a former Regency employee. Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, a private party can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the settlement if the government takes over the case and reaches a monetary agreement with the defendant. The qui tam case is captioned U.S. ex rel. Albright v. Regency, Inc., et al., No. 8:19-cv-686 (M.D. Fla.).
The criminal case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida with assistance from the HHS OIG, the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division, the VA OIG, and the IRS Office of Criminal Investigations. The civil case is being handled by the Commercial Litigation Branch (Fraud Section) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida with assistance from the HHS OIG.
Except for the conduct admitted in connection with Wolfe’s criminal plea, the claims resolved by the civil settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
18:1349.F ATTEMPT AND CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MAIL FRAUD
26:7206A.F FRAUD AND FALSE STATEMENTS
Outcome: Defendant pled guilty. She faces a maximum penalty of 13 years in federal prison.