A Michigan podiatrist was sentenced today to seven years in prison for orchestrating a health care fraud conspiracy that resulted in almost $2 million in false and fraudulent claims being submitted to Medicare, as well as for falsifying records and identity theft.
According to court documents, Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, 61, of Wayne County, owned and operated a podiatry practice in Michigan specializing in on-site foot care provided to adult foster home residents. Mitchell had previously been suspended by Medicare for suspicious billing practices, banning him from receiving any Medicare funds while the suspension remained in place.
After his own Medicare suspension went into effect, Mitchell created a new entity called Urban Health Care Group PLLC (Urban). Mitchell then convinced another doctor – one who was not subject to suspension and therefore could bill Medicare – to enroll in the Medicare program and place her name on corporate and banking documents relating to Urban. Under this arrangement, Mitchell submitted bills to Medicare falsely stating that the other doctor provided the services to patients. Mitchell’s deception enabled him to bill Medicare through Urban for nearly $2 million in services that were false or fraudulent.
After Mitchell was indicted, Medicare suspended Urban’s billing privileges. Mitchell then created false statements, even going so far as to forge at least one signature on a fraudulent letter sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to impede the government’s ongoing investigation and contradict the government’s case against him.