Clark Mitchell, a South Florida physician, has pleaded guilty to two criminal counts related to a $1 billion viatical sales scheme connected to death benefits company Mutual Benefits Corp. The company has been shut down by state and federal authorities.
In a plea agreement announced at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Mitchell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of securities fraud.
The South Florida physician faces a 10-year prison sentence-to be determined in March. He is being ordered to pay a fine of more than $5 million. Also as part of the plea agreement, Mitchell will be responsible for some $367 million in restitution to Mutual Benefits Corp. investors, as well as over $500,000 in health care fraud restitution.
Mitchell says he was connected with MBC’s health care fraud conspiracy while he served as the medical director of a South Florida AIDS clinic.
MBC sales agents are said to have persuaded investors to buy interests in viatial and life settlements. Agents did this by misrepresenting the security and safety of these investments. MBC Sales agents would also tell potential investors that a licensed, independent physician would assess the insured’s health condition to determine life expectancy. The agents included this information in marketing materials.
MBC principals would give the independent physicians lower life expectancy figures for thousands of policies and order the doctors to use them in their assessments. MBC then sent investors affidavits and letter that falsely verified the completion of the review by the physician. Mitchell was one of these physicians, and he admits to signing over 5,000 of these affidavits and letters.
He also has admitted to falsely stating that AIDS patients had been given more complicated care than the clinic where he was director had actually provided, and Mitchell says he was involved in inflating Medicare bills by over $500,000.
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Doctor pleads guilty to taking part in $1 billion Mutual Benefits fraud, Sun-sentinel.com, December 28, 2007
Related Web Resource:
Mutual Benefits Corp. Fraud, mbcfraud.com