San Antonio businessman indicted in health care kickback scheme – San Antonio Express-News

A San Antonio businessman and two others face several federal charges related to an alleged $14.5 million health care fraud scheme.

A federal grand jury indicted Kuba Zarobkiewicz, 35, of San Antonio, and Anthony Fermin, 32, of south Florida, in connection with their ownership of medical equipment companies and pharmacies that allegedly paid kickbacks to telemarketing firms in exchange for signed doctors’ orders issued for unnecessary hip, knee and back braces.

Zarobkiewicz, Fermin and Farrukh Mirza, 39, the Richmond owner of the telemarketing companies, were charged last month with conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, identity theft and other counts.

All three entered not guilty pleas and were released on unsecured bond while they await trial, which is set for Feb. 21 before U.S. District Judge Jason Pulliam in San Antonio.

If convicted, each faces up to five years in prison on the count of conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, up to 10 years in prison on the health fraud charges and a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence if convicted on the identity theft charge.

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Vinoo Varghese, a New York attorney representing Mirza, denied the allegations against his client.

“Mr. Mirza is a law-abiding citizen,” Varghese said in an email. “He is a former law enforcement official. The government is wrong about Mr. Mirza and he looks forward to clearing his name.”

Lawyers for the two other defendants didn’t respond to requests for comment.

According to the indictment, Zarobkiewicz and Fermin’s pharmacy companies were registered Medicare providers.

The two agreed to pay Mirza and his telemarketing companies if he sent signed prescriptions for brace products to their pharmacy companies, the indictment says. Zarobkiewicz was listed on a Medicare application for PharMax and Procare Biomedical, while Fermin was listed for Procare and Elevate Pharmacy.

Mirza’s telemarketing companies employed numerous individuals to call Medicare beneficiaries and attempt to confirm Medicare identification number and push them to accept a “free” orthotic brace product, the indictment says.

The telemarketers would then attempt to connect the beneficiary with a doctor, the charging documents allege. “In almost all cases, this would either be DOCTOR 1 or DOCTOR 2,” it adds. The physicians were not named.

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Either doctor would have a brief conversation with the beneficiary then write a prescription for a brace product “without regard for whether the product was medically necessary,” the indictment says. In some cases, it adds, beneficiaries were sent a brace even though they never spoke with a doctor.

The prescribing doctor would then send the prescription back to the telemarketing company, which forwarded it on to Zarobkiewicz and Fermin and their pharmacy companies, the indictment alleges. The two would send “an unwanted and medically unnecessary” brace product to the beneficiary, the document adds.

Zarobkiewicz and Fermin used their pharmacy companies to bill Medicare for the products.

From August 2020 to November 2021, the pair billed Medicare about $14.5 million for the products that were “referred via illegal kickbacks,” the indictment alleges. About $7 million was actually paid.

Over the same time period, the pair paid Mirza about $2 million in “illegal kickbacks” in exchange for the signed prescriptions, the indictment says.

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