A Monsey physician and his spouse face federal fees of taking kickbacks and bribes for ordering greater than $1 million in genetic exams from sufferers throughout schemes that continued via the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yitzchok “Barry” Kurtzer, 61, and Robin Kurtzer, 60, are accused of billing Medicare for greater than $1.3 million, beginning in 2018, the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace in New Jersey mentioned in a information launch on Friday.
Performing U.S. Lawyer Rachael Honig mentioned a grand jury 11-count indictment fees the Kurtzers obtained month-to-month money kickbacks and bribes in change for amassing DNA samples from Medicare sufferers and sending the samples for genetic exams to medical laboratories in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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Legal professionals for the Kurtzers couldn’t instantly be reached for touch upon Monday. The couple have been arrested in July 2020 and launched that month on $250,000 bond.
In accordance with the felony grievance, Yitzchok Kurtzer practiced drugs in three Pennsylvania places of work, in Scranton, Lake Ariel and Greenwood.
The kickbacks ranged as much as $5,000, Honig mentioned. The Kurtzers first accepted money in one among Yitzchok Kurtzer’s places of work, at occasions behind locked doorways, Honig mentioned, and later via wire funds and an app.
Yitzchok Kurtzer labored as a main care doctor with places of work within the Scranton, Pennsylvania, space. Robin Kurtzer helped handle these places of work.
Yitzchok Kurtzer is accused of conducting genetic check swab assortment, no matter medical necessity.
The Kurtzers have been recorded receiving and discussing lots of their kickback and bribe funds, in response to the prosecutor’s workplace.
At one level, the Kurtzers “complained that they weren’t getting paid sufficient and negotiated for greater kickbacks and bribes,” Honig mentioned.
After Yitzchok Kurtzer accepted a $5,000 money kickback, he counted the cash and mentioned, “Excellent. Didn’t brief me,” the information launch states.
He instructed his employees to cease amassing genetic check swabs when he missed receiving a bribe and kickback cost, the prosecutor’s workplace mentioned, and he elevated the amount of genetic check swabs when the kickback and bribe funds resumed.
He admitted in a recording that he offered a affected person false info to get the affected person to conform to be swabbed for a genetic check. And until a affected person actively sought their genetic check outcomes, Yitzchok Kurtzer didn’t assessment or in any other case use these outcomes.
Two of Yitzchok Kurtzer’s workers, Amber Harris and Shanelyn Kennedy, have pleaded responsible for his or her roles within the scheme, Honig mentioned. Lee Besen and Kimberly Schmidt even have every pleaded responsible to a associated cash-for-genetic exams scheme. Sentencings are pending.
Honig mentioned Harris and Kennedy, for instance, every helped acquire the DNA swabs in change for funds to them.
Robin Kurtzer was recorded saying Harris and Kennedy shouldn’t must be “bribed” to do their work, Honig mentioned, however Robin Kurtzer is also recorded saying she had no hassle “giving them cash” so long as they produced outcomes.
Honig mentioned the Kurtzers improvised because the COVID-19 pandemic decreased in-patient visits. They went from receiving hand-delivered money to accepting funds by wire and thru a cellphone money-transfer app, Honig mentioned.
Yitzchok Kurtzer can also be accused of providing to pay one among his workers to gather genetic check swabs from all of his sufferers who lived in nursing houses.
The Kurtzers face federal fees that embody kickback conspiracy, violations of the anti-kickback statute, unlawful remunerations for referrals to laboratories, and the Journey Act. Yitzchok Kurtzer faces a rely of well being care fraud.
The kickbacks, unlawful remunerations, and well being care fraud fees are every punishable by a most of 10 years in jail. The kickback conspiracy and Journey Act fees carry a most of 5 years in jail.
All 11 counts are additionally punishable by a $250,000 fantastic, or twice the gross acquire or loss from the offense.
Steve Lieberman covers authorities, breaking information, courts, police, and investigations. Attain him at [email protected] Twitter: @lohudlegal. Learn extra articles and bio. Our native protection is just attainable with assist from our readers.