Boca Raton telemarketing company owners face federal charges in $46 million health care fraud

Brooke Baitinger, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
·2 min read

Three telemarketing company owners face federal charges in a $46 million health care fraud, kickback, and money laundering scheme, authorities say.

The Boca Raton men are accused of referring medically unnecessary cancer genetic tests to labs in exchange for kickbacks, according to federal documents that were unsealed Monday. The men allegedly involved are Christian McKeon, 35; Athanasios Ziros, 42; and Gregory Orr, 64.

McKeon and Ziros participated in a scheme to operate a telemarketing campaign targeting Medicare recipients and tried to get them to accept cancer genetic tests, regardless of whether the tests were medically necessary or eligible for Medicare reimbursement, the indictment says.

As part of the scheme, McKeon and Ziros allegedly offered and paid illegal kickbacks and bribes to telemedicine companies in exchange for doctors’ orders for expensive cancer genetic tests, the indictment says.

The orders came from doctors contracted with telemedicine companies, even though those telemedicine doctors had no prior relationship with the Medicare recipients, were not treating them for cancer or symptoms of cancer, did not use the test results in treatments for them and did not conduct a proper telemedicine visit, the indictment says.

All three men then sold those signed doctors’ orders for cancer genetic tests to labs in exchange for illegal kickbacks, the indictment says. They caused one of the labs to submit about $46 million in claims to Medicare, of which over $27 million was paid, the indictment says.

The lab paid McKeon, Ziros and others kickbacks totaling over $14 million, the indictment says. McKeon and Ziros then laundered the unlawful proceeds knowing that the transactions at issue had been designed to conceal and disguise the nature, source, and control of the proceeds, the indictment says.

McKeon and Ziros each face one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, multiple counts of substantive health care fraud and kickback offenses, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and substantive counts for money laundering offenses.

Orr faces one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks and one substantive count of receipt of kickbacks for his alleged role in the scheme.

The conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud charges, conspiracy to commit money laundering and substantive money laundering charges are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The health care fraud and anti-kickback violations are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. The conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 5 years in prison.

McKeon had his initial court appearance Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman. Ziros and Orr are scheduled to appear for their initial appearance in front of the same judge on Wednesday.