Physician Sentenced to Prison for Health Care Fraud Scheme
A Florida physician was sentenced today in the Southern District of Florida to two years in prison for a health care and wire fraud scheme involving the submission of false and fraudulent claims to both Medicare and a financial services company that offered consumer loans to patients for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
According to court filings and evidence presented during court proceedings, Mark Alan Zager, 72, of Miami, conspired with Dennis Nobbe, a now-deceased chiropractor and owner of Dynamic Medical Services, located in Hialeah, Florida, to defraud Medicare, individual patients, and a financial services company. Zager opened a merchant account in his own name and allowed Nobbe to use the account in exchange for paying kickbacks and bribes to Zager. Through the account, Nobbe routinely applied for loans on patients’ behalf, purportedly for services that would be rendered months in the future but were not provided.
According to court filings and evidence presented during court proceedings, from November 2019 through July 2020, Zager and Nobbe submitted more than $193,000 in false and fraudulent loan applications to a financial services company, resulting in that company paying out approximately $165,000. Additionally, Zager allowed Nobbe to submit claims to Medicare through Zager’s National Provider Number in exchange for kickbacks and bribes. Between December 2019 and July 2020, Zager and Nobbe submitted approximately $19,000 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Zager pleaded guilty on June 1, 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of health care fraud. Nobbe was charged with several federal crimes by criminal complaint on July 23, 2020, but he passed away on September 14, 2020, after which the complaint was dismissed, and he accordingly remains presumed innocent.
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; Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.
The FBI’s Miami Field Office and HHS-OIG investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Patrick J. Queenan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Michele Klco forthe Southern District of Florida is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of this matter. The case was previously handled by Trial Attorney Sara M. Clingan of the Fraud Section.
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 24 federal districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $19 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. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.