NEW ORLEANS — The organizer of a $56 million Medicare fraud conspiracy and a doctor have entered guilty pleas to health care fraud charges in federal court in New Orleans.
The U.S. Department of Justice says 51-year-old Mark Morad, of Slidell, and 53-year-old Dr. Divini Luccioni, of Kenner, each pleaded guilty Wednesday before Chief U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance.
Morad and Luccioni pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Morad also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to falsify records in a federal investigation.
Sentencing for each is set for April 1.
Authorities say Morad directed the scheme through multiple New Orleans-area companies he owned, including Interlink Health Care Services Inc., Memorial Home Health Inc., Lakeland Health Care Services Inc., Lexmark Health Care LLC, and Med Rite Pharmacy Inc.
The companies claimed to provide home health services and durable medical equipment to thousands of Medicare beneficiaries living in and around New Orleans.
The Justice Department said Morad paid kickbacks to recruiters who canvassed New Orleans neighborhoods for Medicare beneficiary numbers, which Morad then used to bill Medicare for services that were not medically necessary or not provided.
Luccioni admitted signing home health referrals and wrote medical equipment prescriptions that were used to support the fraudulent billings.
When a federal grand jury subpoenaed records from a company Morad owned, he and others fabricated tax and employment records to conceal the companies' illegal activities and mislead the grand jury.
Medicare billing records showed that between 2007 and 2014, Morad's companies submitted more than $56 million in claims to Medicare, a vast majority of which were fraudulent. Medicare paid approximately $50.7 million on these claims.