Two Florida brothers were handed multi-year prison terms for convictions in a $112 addiction treatment fraud scheme, the Justice Department said Tuesday. File Photo by Pixabay/UPI
March 22 (UPI) -- Two brothers were sentenced to prison terms Friday, for orchestrating a $112 million addiction treatment fraud scheme, the Justice Department said Monday.
Jonathan Markovich, 37, and his brother, Daniel Markovich, 33, were sentenced in the Southern District of Florida, the Justice Department said in a release.
The two are accused of running a scheme that included paying kickbacks to patients through recruiters and receiving kickbacks from testing laboratories.
The brothers billed $112 million for treatment services that were medically unnecessary or never provided. Both brothers supplied illegal kickbacks to entice patients to the Second Chance Detox inpatient and residential facility, and the WAR Network outpatient treatment program, according to court documents.
The two men "shuffled a core group of patients between Compass Detox and WAR in a cycle of admissions and re-admissions to fraudulently bill for as much as possible," according to the Justice Department.
Both offered illegal kickbacks to patients through recruiters, who used things like illegal drugs, airline tickets and cash payments to secure patients' entry into the facilities. Recruiters gave patients drugs immediately prior to admission, to ensure they received the most expensive type of detox treatment once admitted. They were also handed what court documents refer to as a "comfort drink" as well as harmful amounts of other controlled substances in order to sedate them and ensure they stayed at the facility.
The men also billed for therapy sessions that were not provided or that patients did not attend, as well as excessive and unnecessary urinalysis drug tests.
"These substance abuse treatment facility operators, through brazen tactics driven by greed, took advantage of vulnerable patients seeking treatment," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr.
"These sentences demonstrate the department's unwavering commitment to protecting patients and prosecuting fraudulent substance abuse treatment facilities through our Sober Homes Initiative."
Jonathan Markovich was handed 188 months in prison, while Daniel Markovich received a 97-month prison sentence.
The brothers were convicted in November of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud among other charges, following a seven-week trial.
Jonathan Markovich was separately convicted of conspiring to commit money laundering, two counts of concealment money laundering.
Both men are from Bal Harbour, Fla., a village in Miami-Dade County.