Corporate Compliance

Medical clinic owner and VP sentenced to prison for $23 million Medicare fraud scheme

Compliance Monitor, December 22, 2010

Bernice Brown, 56, the owner of a Detroit-area physical therapy clinic, and Daniel Smorynski, 63, the clinic’s vice president, were sentenced to 151 months and 108 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in a $23 million Medicare fraud scheme, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Tarnow also sentenced Brown and Smorynski to three years of supervised release and ordered them to pay jointly and severally $6.5 million in restitution.

Brown and Smorynski worked for Wayne County Therapeutic Inc. (WCT), which purported to specialize in physical and occupational therapy. According to the DOJ, Brown purchased fake physical and occupational therapy files that were created by non-enrolled, and in many cases, non-licensed contractor therapists. The contractor therapists paid Medicare beneficiaries cash kickbacks in exchange for their Medicare numbers and signatures on false documentation to make it appear as if they received therapy.  

According to the DOJ, Brown and Smorynski used the false documents to bill services to Medicare as if WCT therapists had provided the services. Brown also instructed her staff to create false documents to make it appear that WCT therapists, who were licensed in the state and enrolled with Medicare, had performed the services, when she knew they had not. Smorynski aided in the submission of claims for services he knew WCT did not provide, according to the DOJ.  

Between approximately October 2002 and September 2006, Brown and Smorynski submitted approximately $23.2 million in claims to Medicare for physical and occupational therapy services that were never provided. Medicare paid approximately $6.5 million of those claims.

Most Popular