A grand jury indictment was unsealed Thursday, Aug. 16, charging three individuals with health care fraud, including a Fenton Township doctor. An additional charge of money laundering was also was issued to one of those three defendants. The announcement came from United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.
Those charged with health care fraud include, Patrick Wittbrodt, owner of Wittbrodt Consulting, LLC, Dr. April Tyler of Fenton Creative Healthcare in Fenton Township and Jeffrey Fillmore, who worked for Wittbrodt as an independent contractor compensated by commission. Fillmore also was charged with money laundering.
The indictment shows more than $216,126 in health care fraud and more than $530,458 in money laundering.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by William P. Conway, special agent in charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Chicago Field Office and Lamont Pugh III, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Chicago Regional Office.
The indictment charges the defendants with a conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 17 counts of health care fraud.
According to the indictment, Wittbrodt worked with Tyler at Fenton Creative Healthcare between July 2014 and July 2017. He served as an unpaid consultant/manager while working out of Tyler’s Fenton Creative Healthcare clinic.
Tyler is an osteopathic physician who owns and operates Fenton Creative Healthcare, at 1361 N. Long Lake Rd., Fenton. She is the sole practitioner at Fenton Creative Healthcare.
Fillmore worked for Wittbrodt as an independent contractor and he also operated out of Fenton Creative Healthcare.
The indictment specifically charges that between 2014 and 2017, the defendants would attend meetings of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. At those meetings, the defendants touted unnecessary prescription pain cream, scar cream, pain patches and vitamins to UAW members. The prescriptions were unnecessary because Tyler did not establish a valid doctor-patient relationship with any of the UAW members and/or did not determine medical necessity for the prescriptions she wrote for the UAW members. Many of the compounded pain and scar creams were billed to the insurance company at over $15,000 per prescription.
Over the course of the conspiracy, the defendants caused fraudulent claims to be submitted to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan and/or Express Scripts totaling approximately $9,500,000. Over the same period, Medicare paid over $800,000 in fraudulent prescription claims.
Wittbrodt also is charged with seven counts of money laundering in connection with the illegal proceeds of the health care fraud conspiracy.
“Health care fraud involving medically unnecessary prescriptions not only is dangerous to those patients receiving the drugs, but also drives up the cost of health care for everyone,” stated United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “This indictment demonstrates that our office is committed to stamping out health care fraud in the Eastern District of Michigan.”
“When medical professionals and others scheme to illegally provide unneeded drugs to consumers, they violate the public trust,” Conway said. “Our office will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who are criminally involved in the distribution of medicines.”
“Writing medically unnecessary prescriptions for health care items and products and thus causing them to be billed to federal and private health insurance programs is wrong and illegal,” Pugh said. “Fraudulent acts such as this threaten vitally important programs such as Medicare and the beneficiaries they serve. The OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to ensure that individuals that perpetuate these types of fraudulent schemes are held accountable.”
Health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering are each punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine on each count.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Heesters and Health Care Fraud Chief Wayne F. Pratt.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.