Out of the 412 defendants who have been charged in the Department of Justice’s huge national health care bust, Eric Snyder and Christopher Fuller, of Palm Beach, Florida, have been identified as two of the most outrageous scammers. The duo allegedly cheated Medicaid and other insurers out of $58 million.
Snyder ran a drug and alcohol dependency treatment center called Real Life Recovery, as well as a sober home called Halfway There Florida in Palm Beach County, Florida.
According to the Miami Herald, Fuller and other patient brokers received kickbacks from Snyder for recruiting addicts to get treatment at his facilities. Recruiters were purportedly encouraged to hunt down potential patients at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and cheap motels, places where addicts are at their most vulnerable.
Investigators claim that patients were bribed to stay at the facility and undergo treatment with plane tickets, drugs, free rent and even trips to strip clubs.
Snyder could afford all of this because he was allegedly billing millions of dollars to Medicaid and other insurance providers for treatment that was unnecessary or never provided in the first place.
In order to maximize billing, Snyder allegedly asked his employees to do numerous illegal activities, including:
- Fill out intake forms for patients they hadn’t seen,
- Backdate treatment paperwork and sign off on incorrect records,
- Forge therapy attendance sheets and bill patients for sessions they did not attend, and
- Continue to bill patients even after they had left the facility.
In total, Snyder’s facilities billed $58 million over the course of five years.
Per the Palm Beach Post, the cornerstone of Snyder and Fuller’s scheme was to bill for expensive urine drug screening tests. Employees were allegedly told to test patients’ urine even when it was medically unnecessary.
Supposedly, samples were split up and sent to several labs and tested multiple times. Urine samples from the same patient were purportedly often double billed through both Halfway There Florida and Real Life Recovery.
Employees were even instructed to mix and alter samples so the same results wouldn’t come back from the lab over and over again.
The Palm Beach Post has been following Snyder since December 2014, when Halfway There Florida and Real Life Recovery were raided by the FBI. According to the paper, Snyder is a former drug addict who moved to Florida in 2009 for rehab. He is originally from New Jersey.
Fuller has supposedly been in trouble with the law many times, with charges ranging from disorderly conduct to prostituting women. The fraud complaint includes allegations from parents of addicts who asked Fuller for help, only to receive mistreatment and demands for exorbitant amounts of money.
Those parents say that Fuller’s behavior led to the deaths of their children.
Snyder originally caught the attention of the IRS because he had $2 million in unpaid back taxes, but the real nail in the coffin was a whistleblower—the former Director of Operations for Real Life Recovery—who alerted the FBI to the rampant health care fraud happening at the facilities.
Thanks to the whistleblower calling attention to Snyder and Fuller’s fraud, they will face federal court arraignments at the end of the summer.
If you have information about healthcare providers billing Medicaid or Medicare for medically unnecessary services, medical double billing schemes, lab test scams or physician kickbacks, you could be eligible for a substantial cash whistleblower award. Learn more about Florida Medicaid whistleblowers or call or email us.