United States intervenes in qui tam suit alleging kickbacks

by Ben Vernia | December 14th, 2022

On December 13, the Department of Justice announced that it had filed a complaint intervening in a lawsuit, filed in Arizona by several physicians, alleging that a chiropractor and his company violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks for vascular procedures. According to DOJ’s press release:

The United States filed a complaint under the False Claims Act against Yury Gampel, a chiropractor, 15 Modern Vascular office-based labs located throughout the United States primarily owned by Gampel, and five Modern Vascular-affiliated companies owned by Gampel, for engaging in allegedly illegal financial relationships and transactions. Office-based labs, such as the ones named as defendants here, are an extension of a physician’s office where physicians conduct examinations and procedures on an ambulatory basis. 

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The United States’ complaint alleges that from at least Jan. 1, 2018, through June 30, 2022, Gampel and the Modern Vascular defendants offered physicians the opportunity to invest in Modern Vascular office-based labs to induce them to refer their Medicare and TRICARE patients to Modern Vascular for the treatment of peripheral arterial disease. The complaint also alleges that Gampel pressured vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists employed at the Modern Vascular office-based labs to increase the number of invasive surgical procedures performed by tracking procedures and setting aggressive weekly and monthly goals for such procedures.

The entities named as defendants in connection with Gampel’s alleged schemes are Nobility Management LLC; Modern Vascular LLC; Modern Vascular of South Florida LLC; Modern Vascular Management LLC; Modern Vascular Management – East LLC; Modern Vascular Management – West LLC; Modern Vascular Institute LLC; Modern Vascular of Mesa LLC; Modern Vascular of Glendale LLC; Modern Vascular of Sun City LLC; Modern Vascular of Tucson LLC; San Antonio Vascular Specialists Corp. dba Modern Vascular; Fort Worth Vascular Specialists Corp. dba Modern Vascular; Modern Vascular of Denver LLC; Modern Vascular – Navajo LLC; Modern Vascular of Fairfax LLC; Modern Vascular of Housto LLC; Modern Vascular of Indianapolis LLC; Modern Vascular of Southaven LLC; Modern Vascular of St. Louis LLC; and Modern Vascular of Kansas LLC. 

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The United States filed its complaint in three consolidated lawsuits pending in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. Under the Act, a private citizen can sue on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. The United States is also entitled to intervene in the lawsuits, as it did in these cases.

This matter is being handled by the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. The FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service provided substantial assistance in the investigation. 

The consolidated cases are U.S. ex rel. Radhakrishnan, et al. v. Gampel, et al., No. CV-20-00176-PHX-GMS (D. Ariz.); U.S. ex rel. Terry, et al. v. Modern Vascular of Glendale, LLC, No. CV-21-00010-PHX-GMS (D. Ariz.); and U.S. ex rel. Jane Doe v. Modern Vascular, LLC, et al. No. CV-21-01206-PHX-GMS (D. Ariz.).

The United States is represented in this matter by Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Jared S. Wiesner and Adithi S. Grama, in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

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