AEL Wins Substantial Downward Variance at Sentencing in High Profile Healthcare Fraud Case

March 31, 2023 - David M. Eskew

New York, NY — On March 23, 2023, AEL secured a below-Guidelines sentence for its client, a NYC-based pain management physician who previously pled guilty for his role in an alleged fraud scheme in the Southern District of New York. As part of his negotiated guilty plea, he faced a maximum 10-year sentence and Guidelines range of 70 to 87 months. At the sentencing hearing, the Government sought a Guidelines sentence despite the presence of several mitigating factors.

The multi-defendant case–implicating a group of lawyers, doctors, and a litigation financier, among others–involved an alleged conspiracy to defraud businesses and insurance companies through the staging of accidents and unnecessary medical procedures to support fraudulent legal claims. At the sentencing hearing and in its sentencing memorandum, AEL argued that its client’s intent and conduct were substantially and meaningfully different from that of other members of the conspiracy, some of whom had already been convicted in a previous trial and sentenced to as much as 72 months in prison. AEL asked the Court to consider various mitigating factors relating to its client’s offense conduct and personal history and circumstances, urging the Court to impose a sentence of probation or in the alternative, a far lower custodial term than was called for by the Guidelines and sought by the Government. On behalf of its client, AEL submitted 77 letters from friends, family members, colleagues, and former patients to demonstrate that he was a generous and selfless person of extraordinary character.

After a 2-hour sentencing hearing and as a result of AEL’s arguments, the Court imposed a sentence of 36 months’ imprisonment, far below the terms received by defendants previously sentenced, nearly half of the applicable Guidelines range, and far lower than the sentence sought by the prosecutors. “Though the Court imposed a custodial sentence, we are grateful that the court took into account several factors that we asked it to consider,” said AEL partner Kenneth M. Abell in a press statement. AEL’s client “appreciates the careful consideration the court put into crafting its sentence and accepts and respects the judge’s decision.”

“From the outset, the team at AEL (Ken, Scott and Nora) treated me with dignity and respect,” said the client. “They never judged me for the decisions I made and instead focused on getting the best possible outcome.  They did a lot of hard work, learned the details of my case, negotiated a good plea agreement with the government and drafted a sentencing memorandum that explained my specific situation to the judge.  They also obtained permission for me to travel to Brazil for health and family reasons on three separate occasions after I was arrested. The sentence I ultimately received was far less than the government was seeking and I have the team at AEL to thank for that.  I’m forever grateful for their diligence, compassion and professionalism.”

The highly-publicized case, handled by partner Kenneth M. Abell, associate Scott Glicksman and paralegal Nora Maetzener, was covered by Law360 as well as various regional, national, and international news outlets.

For select coverage, see the following:

AEL has a robust white collar criminal defense practice that focuses on complex fraud investigations and prosecutions, with a particular expertise in healthcare and government fraud, securities fraud, bank and wire fraud, money laundering, and computer fraud. AEL also specializes in parallel criminal and civil investigations and cases, whistleblower/qui tam defense, and False Claims Act (FCA) and Antikickback Statute (AKS) cases. Partners Ken Abell and David M. Eskew lead the Firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Government Investigations and Enforcement Defense Practice Areas.

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