Until Fraud Do Us Part : Married Fraudsters Face Jail Time For Health Care Kickbacks

Married floridian fraudsters, Robert and Nikki Jenkins have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to solicit and receive health care kick backs after funneling patients through, American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC), a fraudulent mental health company. Then Jenkins’ managed and operated Life 4 Life Inc., which operated multiple halfway houses in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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According to court documents, Robert and Nikki Jenkins agreed to refer Medicare beneficiaries who resided at Life 4 Life halfway houses to ATC for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services (which is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness).

ATC purported to operate PHPs in seven different locations throughout south Florida and Orlando. The Jenkins admitted that they recruited Medicare beneficiaries for their halfway houses whom they could refer to ATC in exchange for health care kickbacks.

The Jenkins knew that ATC would bill the Medicare program for PHP services provided to the beneficiaries they referred to ATC, and they knew receiving such kickbacks was illegal.

According to court filings, ATC’s owners and operators paid kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities and halfway houses and to patient brokers in exchange for delivering ineligible patients to ATC and its related company, the American Sleep Institute (ASI).

In some cases, the patients received a portion of those kickbacks. Throughout the course of the ATC conspiracy, millions of dollars in kickbacks were paid in exchange for Medicare beneficiaries who did not qualify for PHP services. The ineligible beneficiaries attended treatment programs that were not legitimate so that ATC and ASI could bill Medicare more than $200 million in medically unnecessary services.

According to the plea agreement, the Jenkins’s participation in the fraud resulted in more than $157,980 in fraudulent payments from the Medicare program. At sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 19, 2011, Robert and Nikki Jenkins each face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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ATC, its management company Medlink Professional Management Group Inc., and various owners, managers, doctors, therapists, patient brokers and marketers of ATC, Medlink and ASI, were charged with various health care fraud, kickback, money laundering and other offenses in two indictments unsealed on Feb. 15, 2011. ATC, Medlink and nine of the individual defendants have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial. Other defendants are scheduled to begin trial on in April of 2012 – Source.

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