Two Florida doctors were sentenced for their respective roles in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting over $31 million in claims for expensive durable medical equipment (DME) that Medicare beneficiaries did not want or need and that were procured through the payment of kickbacks.
Dean Zusmer, of Miami, was sentenced to eight years and one month in prison and ordered to pay $1,404,200.97 in restitution. Dr. Lawrence Alexander, of Miami, was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison. Restitution will be determined at a later hearing.
According to court documents, Zusmer was a chiropractor who conspired with others to steal millions of dollars from Medicare. Zusmer owned one of four DME companies that collectively billed Medicare over $31 million for medically unnecessary DME, of which over $15 million was paid. Zusmer and his co-conspirators, including Jeremy Waxman, acquired patient referrals and signed doctors’ orders by paying kickbacks to marketers who used overseas call centers to solicit patients and telemedicine companies to procure prescriptions for unnecessary braces for these patients. Alexander was an orthopedic surgeon who owned one of the DME companies with Waxman and concealed both his and Waxman’s roles in the scheme by putting the DME company in the name of one of Alexander’s family members.
In January 2023, Zusmer was convicted after trial of multiple health care fraud-related offenses and for making a false statement relating to health care matters; Alexander was convicted of making a false statement relating to health care matters. Waxman was previously sentenced to over 15 years in prison for his role in the scheme.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Christian J. Schrank of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys Catherine Wagner, Patrick Queenan, Meredith Hough, Jamie de Boer, and Keith Clouser of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, comprised of 15 strike forces operating in 25 federal districts, has charged more than 5,000 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $24 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes.