Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sales Representative Who Gave Gift Cards and Personal Checks to Medical Referral Sources Sentenced for Obstructing Federal Investigation of Health Care Offenses During Meeting With Investigators

It is becoming more common to charge individuals for "obstructing" a health care fraud investigation. Recently, on February 8, 2016,Terrence Kyle Tackett, a sales representative for multiple healthcare companies was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with obstructing an investigation into kickbacks paid to medical professionals.

From 2012 to 2013, Mr. Tackett worked as a sales representative in Kentucky for California-based healthcare company Cardio Dx, and from August 2013 to February 2015, he worked for Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company. 

Mr. Tackett now admits that from 2012 through February 2015 he gave medical professionals gift cards and personal checks in exchange for ordering or prescribing the products he promoted and to get access to private patient information protected by HIPAA. In May 2016, Mr. Tackett pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of a criminal investigation of health care offenses.

However, during a January 2015 meeting with investigators, Mr. Tackett falsely denied and attempted to conceal the gift cards and checks he had been paying to physicians and their staffs for years in Kentucky and southern Ohio. 

Mr. Tackett was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to three years of probation, with the first six months in community confinement and then six months on home detention, 100 hours of community service to be completed during the last two years of probation, and a fine of $15,000. 

The obvious lesson here is not to meet with any federal investigators unless you understand your rights, the scope of the investigation and AFTER you have consulted with counsel. Importantly, not being honest with the investigators is a separate criminal offense and one that may be easier to prove than a kickback count.  

Posted by Tracy Green, Esq.
Email: tgreen@greenassoc.com
Office: 213-233-2260


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