Marissel Descalzo

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What you need to know about the SUPPORT Act? In October 2018, Congress enacted the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment, or SUPPORT, which aims to target full manufacturer-to-prescriber line of potential opioid-related fraud and misuse. Providers, prescribers, distributors and manufacturers across the health care spectrum should be aware of the SUPPORT Act’s broad provisions that will become effective over the next few years. The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (EKRA) is…
Happy new year. 2019 will be an interesting year in the health care fraud. Here is a short summary of the must watch cases of 2019. Prosecution of Insys Therapeautics executives. Prosecutors claim CEO Michael Babich, chairman John Kapoor and four sales executives conspired to bribe doctors to prescribe the company’s powerful fentanyl painkiller spray. Prosecutors have brought racketeering charges against the defendants. Babich is set to pled guilty on January 9, 2019. The vice…
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced last week a change in the way cooperation credit is given to corporations in criminal cases. Rosenstein announced that the Department of Justice will allow a company to receive cooperation credit in criminal cases where the company has identified every individual who was “substantially involved in or responsible for the criminal conduct.” Under the prior DOJ policy, referred to as the Yates memo, corporations were required to turn over…
One defendant in the highly publicized Insys prosecution has agreed to switch sides and become a cooperator. Former Vice President of Sales at Insys, Alec Burlakoff, has agreed to plead guilty to a racketeering conspiracy. He faces a maximum 20 year sentence. Burlakoff admits that he aggressively pushed a scheme of paying doctors to speak at events in exchange for writing prescriptions for Subsys. The Government alleges that Insys executives conspired to bribe doctors to…
The Department of Justice indicted four individuals in Tennessee in an alleged scheme involving telemedicine. The Indictment charges conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, mail fraud, and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. According to prosecutors, the scheme involved at least $931 million of allegedly false claims. Telemedicine involves connecting physicians and patients through electronic media. Physicians are contracted by the telemedicine companies and are paid a contracted fee. Patients pay a fee for the service.…
On Friday, the head of the Department of Justice criminal division, Brian Benczkowski, released a memorandum regarding the selection of monitors in criminal division matters.  The new policy was announced to a small audience at New York University School of Law.  The memorandum supersedes guidance contained in Lanny Breuer’s memorandum from 2009 laying out the Department of Justice’s monitor selection process. Mr. Benczkowski commented when announcing the new policy that “the imposition of a compliance monitor should be…
After a review ordered by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Department of Justice has revamped and updated the United States Attorneys’ Manual.  This is the first comprehensive update of the Manual in 20 years.  The Manual is now titled the “Justice Manual.” The most notable change for that will effect federal criminal practitioners are the changes to the “Principles of Federal Prosecution” section.  The section has been expanded and the language updated.  The updates include…
A big victory for the defense in the prosecution of the founder and former top executives at opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics.  A magistrate judge assigned to the case ordered federal prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston to turn over documents in the hands of ten different federal agencies’ that could potentially help the company’s former executives fight racketeering and fraud charges. In June, the defense filed a Motion for an Order Requiring Government to Produce…
Temporary restraining orders—a first-of-its-kind against doctors allegedly prescribing opioids illegally under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)—were served this week that forbid Michael P. Tricaso, D.O., of Akron, and Gregory J. Gerber, M.D., of Sandusky, Ohio from writing prescriptions.  The Justice Department filed two separate complaints to bar two Ohio doctors from prescribing medications and allege that an investigation revealed the doctors “recklessly and unnecessarily distributed painkillers and other drugs.”  Attorney General Jeff Sessions even made…
On Friday, the Sixth Circuit in the cases of United States v. Mehmood and United States v. Ahmadani reversed the sentences of two owners of home health care companies. The Sixth Circuit reasoned that the trial judge incorrectly applied the law in calculating the loss figure for sentencing purposes by assigning the loss figure as the gross billings to Medicare. The Opinion states that “[i]n a case in which the defendant is convicted of a…