Kickbacks: Charges, Penalties & Defense

Kickbacks attorney David J. Kramer

Are you or a loved one being investigated for kickbacks?

If you live in the Detroit area, you are probably aware of Beaumont Health. Michigan’s largest health care system is responsible for employing and treating many hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Beaumont Health has had to deal with the ramifications from a kickback scheme. That scheme awarded eight different doctors in its network for patient referrals.

The health system, which was revamped in 2014, says these charges stem from what occurred before the current leadership was in place.

What are Kickbacks?

Kickbacks are a form of bribery. For instance, a construction company that privately offered money to a government official to give them the bid, although it wasn’t the lowest, would be guilty of engaging in a kickback scheme, as would the government official.

Kickbacks are any misappropriation of funds made by someone with power or influence to enrich another person, organization or business and receives compensation in return.

Thus the term “kickback; I’ll kick the ball to you if you kick it back to me.”

These tactics are called “anti-competitive practices.” They have often been employed by organized criminal enterprises, by which these criminals have been able to be traced.

However, the term more often refers to practices uncovered in the world of healthcare.

Medical Kickbacks and Anti-Kickback Legislation

It is illegal and a felony to be compensated in exchange for referring someone to receive services that are paid for by a federal health care program.

The bribe does not have to be money.

In the case of these eight doctors from Beaumont Health, the hospital system paid $84 million for giving them free office space and employees in exchange for referrals.

That’s because so much of American’s health care needs are paid for by the Medicaid and Medicare programs, which are federally funded.

In addition, offering to pay for referrals or asking to be paid for referrals is as illegal as paying or getting paid.

Kickback Penalties

There are federal laws governing kickbacks. One such law is the False Claims Act. Penalties for violating this act can be fines of:

  • Up to three times the amount of the claim – per claim
  • Plus fines of up to $11,000 per claim.

There are also Michigan laws against kickback schemes:

Some of these offenses are misdemeanors. Some are felonies with severe penalties, including imprisonment and fines of up to $11,000 per claim.

Detroit Kickbacks Attorney

Kickback schemes are taken very seriously at both the state and federal level. You could face severe penalties for this crime.

However, the laws are written so broadly that it’s possible for overly zealous law enforcement to bring charges where there was no crime committed.

If you are facing charges related to kickbacks, you should consult an experienced criminal attorney to prepare a vigorous defense on your behalf.

Contact my office today.

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