December 8, 2004
Health Related Prosecutions in the Courts
Health care related offenses are a top DOJ priority. These prosecutions are usually considered to be in the white collar crime category as the charges often relate to healthcare fraud. There are a host of other healthcare related cases, however, that border both the white collar and drug areas. Two recent decisions, one from the Eleventh Circuit and the other the Second Circuit, provide evidence of this type of prosecution.
The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded for a new trial the case of United States v. Yates, a case where two individuals were charged with various white collar crime type offenses (mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to commit money laundering) "in connection with their involvement in the Norfolk Men's Clinic, an internet pharmacy." The government's use of two-way videoconferencing for trial testimony of two witnesses was held to be a violation of the defendants' rights under the confrontation clause.
In a Second Circuit case, United States v. Singh, a physician and two others were convicted of health care fraud in addition to drug related offenses. Although the court remanded the loss calculation used in sentencing, it affirmed other aspects of the convictions. Defendant's practice was related to "the management of chronic pain." Singh unsuccessfully challenged the health care fraud counts under 18 USC 1347. This case includes an interesting discussion on forfeiture of a medical license.