Health care fraud defense and the federal sentencing guidelines

A recent health care fraud case involving a Maryland physician is a reminder of how steep the penalties can be for physicians who are convicted in health care fraud cases.

The case involves a 60-year-old Potomac physician who was sentenced to 111 months in prison and three years of supervised release in connection with convictions on counts of health care fraud, making false statements, wire fraud, and related offenses. In addition to the prison time, the physician was ordered to pay over $3.1 million in restitution and forfeiture of funds.

Sentencing is an important issue in white collar criminal defense. For criminal defendants accused of fraud, advocacy extends into the sentencing process to ensure that the defendant’s interests are fully represented. Although the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are advisory rather than mandatory, federal judges still generally take them seriously.

Knowing how the sentencing guidelines are laid out and how judges work through the process of determining sentencing ranges, especially when it comes to departures from sentencing ranges, can help a criminal defendant to highlight factors in his or her case which can result in a reduced sentence. It is a matter of knowing how the sentencing process works, what factors are dispositive in determining sentencing ranges, and how to speak the language judges can understand in a sentencing context.

In a future post, we’ll revisit some of the material we’ve previously looked at on this blog pertaining to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and related matters, especially in the context of health care fraud charges.


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