Detroit podiatrist charged in $13.9M Medicare fraud scheme

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A Detroit podiatrist has been charged with defrauding Medicare of $13.9 million. (Getty/Devonyu)

A Detroit podiatrist has been charged with participating in a $13.9 million healthcare fraud scheme in which he is accused of performing unnecessary foot surgeries on patients.

Prosecutors unsealed an indictment Thursday revealing that Lawrence Young, D.P.M., of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, has been charged with six counts of healthcare fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Young is accused of making fraudulent claims for unneeded foot surgeries and other podiatric services that he never delivered. According to the indictment, Young owned two Michigan practices, Dearborn Podiatric Services and Georgetown Podiatric Services.

Between 2010 and 2016, prosecutors say Young falsely told patients they needed weekly or biweekly shots and minor surgeries to prevent hammertoe. As a result, patients returned to his practice on a regular basis each month for the unnecessary treatments. The indictment indicated he also billed Medicare for other podiatry services, such as Unna boots, which he never gave to patients.

The case was brought by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is now operating in nine cities across the country. Since its start in March 2007, the task force has charged nearly 3,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $11 million, according to the announcement. Both the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General investigated the case.