South Carolina – Jeffrey Brooks, 40, received a sentence of over seven years in a federal prison for pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Besides his criminal case, last year Brooks also paid $850,000 in a civil settlement. This was for claims that he was involved in illegal kickbacks and submitting false claims, breaking the federal False Claims Act. Brooks ran his operations in multiple states, including South Carolina.
Jeffrey Brooks started the operations in 2019
Court evidence showed that starting around May 2019, Brooks managed at least eight medical equipment companies in Florida. Originally from New York, Brooks was accused of making false claims to Medicare and CHAMPVA for unnecessary braces, which were not eligible for payment and were part of a scheme involving illegal payments.
The evidence further revealed that Brooks and others bought personal and health information of Medicare beneficiaries from call centers. They used this information to make fake orders for braces. They paid illegal money to telemedicine companies to get medical practitioners to sign these orders, without caring if the braces were actually needed.
Jeffrey Brooks was operating a call center in South Carolina
While plotting this fraud, Brooks owned a call center in South Carolina. This center bought personal information of Medicare patients. Brooks and his partners, involving fake telemedicine companies, then created signed doctors’ orders. They used these orders to make false claims to Medicare and CHAMPVA.
The evidence in court revealed that Brooks’ medical equipment companies made Medicare pay over $29 million in fake claims.
“As we put an end to Brooks’ fraudulent scheme, he faces both accountability and justice,” said Adair F. Boroughs, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. “We will continue to seek out those defrauding federal healthcare programs.”
“By facilitating kickbacks, this defendant knowingly enabled theft from Medicare, putting personal profit before legitimate patient care and ultimately costing taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Tamala E. Miles, Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those alleged of defrauding federal health care programs are held accountable.”
“The penalties in this case underscore the importance of maintaining the integrity of healthcare systems,” said Steve Jensen, FBI Special Agent. “We are committed to safeguarding the interests of healthcare beneficiaries and ensuring accountability for those who exploit healthcare programs.”
“Today, this defendant was held accountable for his role in a long-term fraud scheme in which he enriched himself at the expense our nation’s veterans and that behavior will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Kim. R. Lampkins of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Mid-Atlantic Field Office. “We thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their efforts in this joint investigation.”
The civil lawsuit against Brooks was initially filed by Ashley Westover and Jessica Tollison. They used the whistleblower rights in the False Claims Act. This act lets private individuals sue on behalf of the U.S. and get a share of any money recovered. From the settlement, Westover and Tollison got about $144,500.
The criminal part of the case was handled by the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. They got help from HHS-OIG, FBI, and VA-OIG agents, including Special Agent Ryan Schubert. The civil part was also managed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, with help from the same agencies.
Judge Herlong gave Brooks a 90-month prison sentence, followed by three years of supervision. The federal system doesn’t allow parole. Brooks must also pay back $15,221,227.60. This includes over $15 million to Medicare and about $22,795 to CHAMPVA.