Top executives embroiled in healthcare fraud around the country

Even high-ranking executives can't evade the long arm of the federal government when it comes to healthcare fraud. Nonprofit executives in Alabama and New York, and a VA chief in Florida, found themselves linked to serious fraud allegations last week, one of which totaled $14 million in false billing.

Most prominently, the feds arrested Jonathan Wade Dunning, the former CEO of two nonprofit health clinics in Birmingham, Alabama, on a 112-count indictment tied to healthcare fraud, according to an FBI release. Dunning formerly served as CEO at Birmingham Health Care, Central Alabama Comprehensive Health and Birmingham Financial Credit Union before leaving his position run a group of for-profit businesses known as the "Synergy Entities."

According to the feds, Dunning continued to exercise control over his former nonprofit companies, allegedly steering millions in federal grant money towards his private companies. The scheme generated $14 million over the course of six years, noted AL.com.

Three other people connected to Birmingham Health Care have pleaded guilty to fraud, including former Chief Financial Officer Terri Mollica. In November, Dunning's lawyers demanded an explanation from the U.S. Attorney's office for implicating him in Mollica's indictment despite not yet being charged, according to AL.com.

Elsewhere, another nonprofit executive, Darlington Odidika, was arrested on allegations of demanding kickbacks and defrauding Medicaid, according to a release by the New York State Office of the Attorney General. As executive director of Systems and Abilities Inc., a Yonkers-based company that provided construction and moving services that modified homes that allowed elderly patients to move from nursing homes back into the community, Odidika allegedly falsified bids through the state's Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Program, allowing him to control which contractor won the job. Odidika allegedly inflated the amount Medicaid paid to his company and solicited kickbacks from a project contractor in exchange for ensuring the contractor received the winning bid.

Finally, the chief of prosthetics at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center in Florida pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud, according to CBS12. Timothy Rouch created fraudulent purchase orders to buy lifts and ramps from a vendor that sold medical equipment to the VA, noted the feds. 

In November, executives at healthcare companies in St. Louis, Miami and Minneapolis were linked to high-profile fraud cases. Meanwhile, a recent court ruling could impact the upward sentencing of healthcare executives linked to fraud, FierceHealthPayer: AntiFraud previously reported. The ruling could make it easier for prosecutors to get sentencing enhancements based on a position of trust. 

For more:
- here's the Alabama FBI release and the AL.com article
- read the NY State Attorney release
- see the CBS12 article

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