Florida doctor gets 20 years in $125 million-plus scheme

Osteopathic physician Michael Ligotti of Delray Beach

Osteopathic doctor Michael Ligotti of Delray Beach.


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In one of South Florida’s greatest healthcare scams cases, an osteopathic doctor authorized medically unneeded urine tests and treatment for patients struggling with alcohol and drug addiction that cost personal insurance business more than $125 million over a years.

Michael Ligotti, who owned a medical center in Delray Beach that made money from the scheme, was sentenced Monday to an optimal sentence of 20 years in jail in Miami federal court by U.S. District Judge Rodolfo Ruiz. He had actually pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to dedicate healthcare and wire scams and was bought to surrender his Florida medical license.

Ligotti, 48, need to turn himself into jail authorities in June, however he still deals with a restitution hearing to identify just how much cash the doctor need to pay back Blue Cross/Blue Guard, Humana and other significant personal insurance companies for their losses.

According to court records, Ligotti licensed “deceptive” urine drug tests for patients at about 50 substance abuse treatment centers, sober houses and labs in SouthFlorida In exchange, numerous of those exact same patients were recycled through his Delray Beach medical facility, Entire Health, enabling his practice to expense for and benefit from redundant substance-abuse treatment and screening services. Ligotti likewise worked as the medical director for some of the treatment centers, sober houses and laboratories, which lay generally in Palm Beach County. federal authorities stated.

As part of his plea arrangement, Ligotti confessed to finalizing “standing orders” for pricey and unneeded urine drug tests for patients at the different treatment centers, including his own center. In turn, the patients’ urine specimens were sent out to screening labs, which then billed personal healthcare insurance companies for the unneeded urine drug tests. A single test cost thousands of dollars.

As an outcome, in between 2011 and 2020, the healthcare insurance companies were billed more than $746 million for unnecessary addiction treatment and urine screening, according to Justice Department district attorneys. In overall, the insurance companies paid about $127 million for deceptive drug tests and addiction treatment originating from Ligotti’s main function in the healthcare scheme, district attorneys stated.

This story was initially released January 10, 2023 2:12 PM.

Profile Image of Jay Weaver

Jay Weaver composes about federal criminal activity at the crossroads of South Florida and Latin America. Considering that signing up with the Miami Herald in 1999, he’s covered the federal courts continuously, from Elian’s custody fight to A-Rod’s steroidabuse He was part of the Herald group that won the 2001 Pulitzer Reward for breaking news on Elian’s seizure by federal representatives. He and 3 Herald associates were 2019 Pulitzer Reward finalists for explanatory reporting for a series on gold smuggling in between South America and Miami.

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