Kennedy Vuernick Secures $82,752.12 Settlement in Landmark Medicare Fraud Case
Dec 1, 2023
Rutherford, New Jersey – Kennedy Vuernick, a leading legal firm specializing in anti-fraud cases, is pleased to announce a groundbreaking victory in a Medicare fraud lawsuit. The firm has secured a settlement of $82,752.12 in what is believed to be the first-of-its-kind case involving Medicare “balance billing” violations.
The settlement brings resolution to allegations against Dr. Lewis Wetstein, M.D., and Lewis Wetstein, M.D., P.C., who were accused of unlawfully “balance billing” their Medicare patients. The civil complaint contended that Dr. Wetstein consistently overcharged his Medicare patients, exceeding what Medicare had authorized for medical services. Shockingly, he filed over 210 lawsuits against elderly patients in an attempt to collect additional payments beyond what Medicare covered.
This case exposed a violation of Medicare rules, which expressly prohibit physicians from directly billing Medicare beneficiaries for unpaid balances, except for legally mandated co-pays and deductibles.
Dr. Wetstein initiated his numerous lawsuits in small claims court between 2013 and 2018, including a suit against an 83-year-old patient, tragically uncovered after her passing.
Kennedy Vuernick’s expertise in Medicare billing regulations allowed them to file a civil complaint under the federal False Claims Act, alleging that all of Dr. Wetstein’s small claims lawsuits constituted fraudulent acts. While the defendants vehemently denied the allegations, the firm persevered in pursuing justice.
This landmark case has garnered national attention as a nationwide search revealed no previous False Claims Act suit related to improper balance billing, marking it as a historic legal precedent.
Richard E. Vuernick, a partner at Kennedy Vuernick, stated, “Kennedy Vuernick is committed to obtaining justice for victims of fraud, regardless of their age or background. We will employ every legal avenue to ensure wrongdoers repay what they have taken from their victims, from senior citizens to the taxpayers who support the Medicare program.”
Under the False Claims Act, individuals with knowledge of fraud against government programs can bring lawsuits on behalf of the government. Successful whistleblowers receive a portion of the government’s recovery, and the defendant is responsible for covering all attorneys’ fees and costs. It’s worth noting that both the federal government and the state of New Jersey have False Claims Acts that empower such suits.
Kennedy Vuernick Law is a prominent legal firm specializing in anti-fraud cases, dedicated to pursuing justice and upholding the law in matters of anti-fraud and abuse.
MCCULLAGH v. WETSTEIN et al
New Jersey District Court
Case no. 3:19-cv-19063
At Kennedy Vuernick, we understand that fraud schemes are difficult to detect and even harder to prove. We’re up for the challenge. Fraud cases need to be built on a solid foundation of evidence. They require experienced guidance during the investigative phase. So we work with trusted investigative partners to gather the crucial evidence. Our experience has taught us that any fraud scheme, no matter how sophisticated, breaks down when subjected to enough scrutiny. We do not shy away from painstaking study of documents and data: we revel in it. Because we know that successful fraud cases are built carefully, deliberately, fact by fact. And that’s what we build: successful fraud cases.
Kennedy & Vuernick Law
301 NJ Route 17 North Suite 800, Rutherford, NJ 07070
Press Contact : Richard Vuernick
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