CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Justin Segrest, 44, of Mount Airy, N.C., appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer today and pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge for his role in a durable medical equipment (DME) scheme that defrauded Medicare of almost $15 million, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Tamala E. Miles, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General for the region including North Carolina, join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
According to filed plead documents and today’s plea hearing, during 2018 and 2019, Segrest was a nurse practitioner and was working for a telemedicine company based in Delaware. During the relevant time, Segrest caused thousands of claims to be submitted to Medicare for medically unnecessary orthopedic braces and other DME. As Segrest admitted in court today, Segrest facilitated the scheme by making false claims in medical records to support the fraudulent claims. He did so by signing false medical records describing purported “assessments” of Medicare beneficiaries and certifying that he had performed corresponding medical examinations when, in fact, Segrest had no interaction with the beneficiaries and made no medical determination whether the devices were medically necessary or the beneficiaries needed the DME. Segrest received from the telemedicine company unsigned orders for orthopedic braces for the beneficiaries, which he signed and returned to the telemedicine company in exchange for $15 for each purported assessment that he performed. Through this scheme, Segrest caused the submission of nearly $15 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Following today’s plea hearing, Segrest was released on bond. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date for Segrest has not been set.
The investigation was handled by the FBI and HHS-OIG. Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham Billings of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.