ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – Michael Norman Dube, 59, who operated American Toxicology Labs, pleaded guilty today in the Western District of Virginia to health care fraud charges. Dube’s wife, Regan Gran Dube, 40, also pleaded guilty. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen of the Western District of Virginia, United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr. of the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Virginia Attorney General Mark G. Herring made the announcement.
The Dubes, of Johnson City, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Abingdon. Michael Dube pleaded guilty to two counts of health care fraud (one filed in the Western District of Virginia and one filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky). Regan Dube pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud in the Western District of Virginia. At sentencing, each defendant faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of up to 10 years. Regan Dube will be sentenced September 15, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. Michael Dube will be sentenced September 17, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.
“The Dubes preyed upon a healthcare system that is supposed to help those in need. This is particularly egregious, given Michael Dube’s prior exclusion from federal health care programs,” First Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar said today. “I am proud of the collaboration between our federal and state partners in Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, which produced this just result.”
“Michael Dube defrauded Medicaid programs in two states, taking public money that he was not entitled to receive and furthering his own interests,” stated Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “Today’s guilty pleas are the product of close cooperation between two United States Attorney’s Offices and several law enforcement agencies and show our resolve in preventing fraud, waste, and abuse of the essential resources of government programs.”
“Healthcare fraud not only wastes hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, but it also undermines an important system that provides thousands of Virginians with critical medical services,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “I am incredibly proud of the work my nationally-renowned Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has done and we will continue to work with our federal partners to pursue these egregious cases of fraud and abuse.”
“Opioid addiction continues to be a public health emergency and it is important that treatment providers act with honesty and integrity in combatting the crisis. In cooperation with our federal and state law enforcement partners, we will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who defraud federal programs of resources to fight this epidemic,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office.
“The Medicare and Medicaid programs require providers to be truthful on all documents and claims submitted,” said Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “HHS-OIG will continue to work with our Federal and State partners to hold providers accountable for fraudulent actions and safeguard the Medicare and Medicaid programs from fraud, waste and abuse.”
According to court documents, in March 2011, Michael Dube pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Tennessee to one count of intentionally omitting information from reports as required under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result of his conviction, the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] informed Dube in a letter dated June 29, 2012, that he was excluded from participating in any federal health care program.
Nonetheless, in May 2013, Michael and Regan Dube established American Toxicology Labs [ATL] in Johnson City, Tennessee, with Regan Dube serving as the company’s registered agent, and using the couple’s home address as the principal office and mailing address. ATL then applied to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. On the applications, Regan Dube was listed as the owner of ATL, and Michael Dube’s name and participation in ATL was omitted.
ATL conducted urine screens for various entities who represented themselves to be opioid treatment facilities. Between May 1, 2014, and January 31, 2020, Medicare, Virginia Medicaid, Kentucky Medicaid and TennCare made payments to ATL that totaled approximately $8.5 million. During this time, Michael Dube made employment decisions, negotiated business arrangements with providers, and otherwise participated in the management of ATL.
In addition, Michael Dube also received kickback payments from third-parties for referring individuals to those third-parties for services for which payment was made (in whole or in part) by federal health care programs. These payments were deposited in Michael and Regan Dube’s personal checking account in a total amount of $441,646.
As a result of their guilty pleas, Michael and Regan Dube will pay a total of $9,015,046, plus interest, to be divided between special assessments, fines, restitution, and forfeiture. They will have to repay all of the money they received from Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Virginia State Police, and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of the case was conducted by the United States Attorneys’ Offices for the Western District of Virginia (by Special Assistant United States Attorney and Assistant Attorney General Janine Myatt, Assistant United States Attorneys Whit Pierce, Krista Frith, and Randy Ramseyer) and the Eastern District of Kentucky (by Andrew Smith and Gregory Rosenberg). The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee provided valuable assistance.