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Did You Accidentally Violate Los Angeles Medicare Fraud Laws? (And What To Do If You Did…)

Many people believe that most Los Angeles Medicare and medical fraud defendants “knew what they were doing.”

In other words, when you crack open the Los Angeles Times and read about some executive or ambulance administrator who allegedly “bilked” the federal benefits program out of millions of dollars, you might assume that the suspect had organized an intricate operation – had behaved, in sense, like a criminal mastermind.

Indeed, there are individuals who fit this description, more or less. However, they are in the minority. In fact, a lot of Southern California white collar crime, insurance fraud and healthcare fraud cases are far more ambiguous. Indeed, perfectly innocent mistakes can get you into serious legal hot water.

For instance:

• Accepting compensation for referring a sick patient for paid Medicare provider. (Even if referring a sick patient to get medically necessary help is a no-no: if you accept compensation or other payment, or you could be hit with a kickback violation.
• If you send a patient to a facility that you have some vested financial interest in, you could get charged with a Stark Violation and face license suspension, fines, and even jail time.
• Certain borderline activities might be safe under certain extremely specific situations. The laws are subtle and ever-changing — a good reason why you want an experienced and well educated Los Angeles Medicare fraud attorney and his or her team on your side.

Chiropractors, doctors, dentists, and other providers who find themselves on the “business end” of an indictment or fraud charge often capitulate way too early in the process. Due to the complexity and unique nature of Medicare fraud cases, your legal team may be able to deploy nuanced strategies to get you exonerated or at least to make the prosecutor’s job more difficult.

For instance, even if you’re convicted, you could get probation instead of a stronger penalty, based on how you handle the pre-indictment negotiation.

A good attorney can also leverage pre-trial discovery to access, review, and leverage information in critical documents with respect to your case. The government may discard vital documents that could turn out to exonerate you — or at least to make your case more compelling and more difficult to break.

Many defendants also wind up riding – for lack of a better term – an “emotional rollercoaster” during the proceedings. Yes, the threat of going to jail, losing your license, and seeing your business and reputation destroyed can be disconcerting, to say the least. However, most complex fraud cases have serious ups and downs. Don’t think of your journey ahead as a sprint – rather, think of it as a mountain climb. There will be times when you feel exhausted and depleted. And there will be times when you feel elated – like you’ve “reached the peak.”

Learn to mitigate against the high feelings and low feelings, and you will much better positioned to think clearly and effectively about best steps and best practices.

Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor Michael Kraut, of Southern California’s Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers, has a wealth of experience fighting on both sides of complex healthcare fraud cases. For nearly 15 years, he served as a Senior Deputy District Attorney for the city. In that position, he helped the government build and execute many complex criminal cases. In his more recent capacity as a criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Kraut and his associates have used their skills, negotiating savvy, and connections to generate exceptional results for their clients.

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