Podiatrist Pleads Guilty to Foot Bath Fraud Scheme
Credit: U.S. Attorney’s Office/Northern District of Mississippi news release
A Mississippi man pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to defraud Medicare and TRICARE by prescribing and dispensing medically unnecessary foot bath medications and ordering medically unnecessary testing of toenails in exchange for kickbacks and bribes.
According to court documents, Marion Shaun Lund, D.P.M., 53, of Taylor, owned and operated a podiatry clinic, as well as an in-house pharmacy. Lund routinely wrote prescriptions for, and his pharmacy dispensed, antibiotic and antifungal drugs to be mixed into a tub of warm water for patients to soak their feet. Rather than prescribe drugs based on the individualized needs of patients, Lund prescribed foot bath medications in order to maximize reimbursements from Medicare, TRICARE, and other health care benefit programs, regardless of medical necessity. In addition, Lund took toenail clippings and wound cultures from patients and sent them to a lab for diagnostic testing, even though such testing was not medically necessary. From April 2020 through March 2022, Lund caused the submission of over $1.4 million in claims to Medicare and TRICARE for unnecessary prescriptions of foot bath medications and diagnostic testing of toenails, resulting in over $700,000 in reimbursements. In exchange for his prescriptions and orders, Lund was paid cash kickbacks by a purported marketer.
Lund pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Lund is the fourth defendant, including three medical professionals, to plead guilty for his role in the scheme. In October 2021, Logan Hunter Power pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive kickbacks, and in October 2022, Power was sentenced to 25 months in prison. In August 2022, Jared Lee Spicer, D.P.M., pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and is awaiting sentencing. In September 2022, Carey “Craig” Williams, D.P.M., pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and is awaiting sentencing.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner for the Northern District of Mississippi; Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson of the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Acting Assistant Director Jay Greenberg of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.
The HHS-OIG and FBI are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Sara E. Porter and Assistant Chief Justin M. Woodard of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Clayton A. Dabbs of the Northern District of Mississippi are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, comprised of 15 strike forces operating in 25 federal districts, has charged more than 5,000 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $24 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.