Cutting Off the Blood Supply

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Stethoscope on 100 dollar bills symbolizing financial surveillance

Medicaid is jointly funded by the Federal Government and the states, but each state operates its own Medicaid program within federal guidelines to provide health care coverage to those with lower incomes and resources. Sadly, the government healthcare program is often targeted by fraudsters who are looking to cheat the system and make money at the expense of honest taxpayers and victims.

Frank Purpera Jr. of Blacksburg, Va. was recently sentenced after pleading guilty to illegally distributing controlled substances, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and obstruction of justice. Dr. Purpera is the former owner of the Virginia Vein Institute based in Roanoke, Va.

Dr. Purpera wrote prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances using the name of his wife, as she did not share his last name. (I wouldn’t want to be associated with this fraudster either.)  

Over five years, Dr. Purpera illegally wrote prescriptions for Percocet, which is used for moderate to severe pain, and Adderall, which is used to improve hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and attention span. The prescriptions were not intended for medical use and did not pertain to the area of medicine Dr. Purpera practiced. (So, he was basically contributing to our nation’s drug addiction problem so he could make more money for himself. If that isn’t the definition of selfish, I don’t know what is.)

Additionally, Dr. Purpera fraudulently billed Medicare, Virginia Medicaid, and private insurances for millions of dollars. (Why stop at defrauding one insurance company or government healthcare program when you could defraud them all?) He forged and falsified medical records so he could receive reimbursements he was not entitled to.

When Dr. Purpera’s medical practice was searched, he instructed all of his employees not to comply with the search warrant and to say “I don’t recall” if questioned by federal investigators. (Dr. Purpera reportedly showed his staff a “Wolf of Wall Street” clip and told them to emulate their uncooperative behavior by restating “I don’t recall” to every question.)  

Acting United States Attorney Bubar issued a statement condemning Dr. Purpera for defrauding Medicaid funding which is supposed to go to Virginians in need of assistance. He also criticized Dr. Purpera for violating his Hippocratic Oath to serve the community by adding to our nation’s dangerous drug epidemic. (He didn’t care about adding to people’s drug problems as long as he profited from the harm he inflicted.)  

Dr. Purpera was convicted of 56 counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice.

He was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison and ordered to pay over $2.3 million in restitution to Virginia Medicaid, Medicare, and Anthem insurance. (I bet the only thing Dr. Purpera is sorry for is the fact that he got caught. Perhaps while serving out his 90 months in prison, he’ll be able to recall what he has done and have remorse for his actions.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Blacksburg Doctor to Serve 90 Months in Prison on Health Care Fraud, Distribution of Controlled Substances, Obstruction of Justice Charges,” dated September 24, 2020.

ROANOKE, Va. – Frank Purpera Jr., the former owner of the Virginia Vein Institute, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to 90 months in federal prison after being convicted by a jury in January 2020 of illegally distributing controlled substances, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and obstruction of justice. Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement today.

Purpera, 45, of Blacksburg, Va., was convicted in January on 56 counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of health care fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

 

 

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.