TAMPA, FL – The owner of a Tampa, Florida-area medical marketing company was sentenced to 70 months in prison yesterday for his role in a $2.2 million Medicare fraud scheme involving the payment of kickbacks and bribes to fraudulent medical clinics in Miami in exchange for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries for expensive genetic tests that were medically unnecessary, and for his role in the illegal structuring of cash withdrawal transactions.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez of the Middle District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office and Assistant Inspector General Omar Perez of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.
U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew of the Middle District of Florida, sentenced David Brock Lovelace, 49, of Land o’ Lakes, Florida, the owner of DBL Management LLC in Land o’ Lakes. After a one-week jury trial in July 2019, Lovelace was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks and one count of structuring cash withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Lovelace was paid by a genetic testing laboratory for each DNA swab that Lovelace arranged to be referred to the laboratory. In order to obtain DNA swabs, Lovelace paid illegal cash kickbacks and bribes to medical clinics in Miami in exchange for the referral of DNA swabs that were obtained from Medicare beneficiaries. Lovelace directed the owners of the medical clinics to collect the DNA of all the patients who visited the clinics, regardless of whether the patients actually had any medical need for DNA testing. In turn, the clinics provided food and other inducements to beneficiaries to get them to visit the clinics where their DNA was collected.
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The evidence at trial showed that the test results were never provided to the beneficiaries; rather, co-conspirators at the clinics paid doctors and obtained prescriptions for the DNA testing, frequently without any patient interaction.
From November 2013 to May 2014, the evidence at trial showed that Lovelace paid these kickbacks in the form of cash bribes to Miami clinic owners. From May 2014 to November 2014, after his arrest on other health care fraud charges, the evidence showed that Lovelace established shell companies, including Healthcare Marketing Florida of Melbourne, Florida, and recruited others to help him continue the scheme while he was out on pretrial release awaiting trial in his first criminal case.
Lovelace was previously found guilty by a jury in December 2015 of various health care fraud, money laundering and identity theft charges in a case handled by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. He is currently serving 14 years in prison on those charges. The sentence imposed today was ordered to be served consecutively with the 14-year sentence previously imposed.
The FBI and HHS investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Trial Attorney John Michelich and Assistant Deputy Chief Jacob Foster of the Fraud Section prosecuted the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $16 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.