Alabama man sentenced in health care fraud scheme that exploited patients and cost insurers millions

Published 4:20 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2024

An Alabama man involved in a multi-million dollar health care fraud and kickback conspiracy has been sentenced.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced John Alan Robson, 41, of Trussville, to 56 months in prison. Robson was ordered to pay approximately $1.1 million in forfeiture and $5.3 million in restitution. In February 2024, Robson pleaded guilty to health care fraud conspiracy involving Brian Bowman, James Ray, and others.

U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, FBI Special Agent in Charge Carlton L. Peeples, and HHS Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles announced the sentencing in a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

“This was a crime of greed that harmed the health system,” stated Escalona. “The crime cost insurers millions and exploited patients seeking appropriate care. We will continue to protect our community from such serious crimes.”

James DeLoatch, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Birmingham Division, emphasized the broader impact: “Health care fraud costs U.S. taxpayers millions annually, raises premiums, and exposes patients to unnecessary procedures. The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue those exploiting others for personal gain.”

Special Agent Miles from HHS OIG added, “Kickback arrangements threaten the integrity of federally funded health care programs. Today’s sentence demonstrates our commitment to protecting these programs and the patients they serve.”

According to Robson’s plea agreement, he knowingly accepted kickbacks from specialty pharmacies, a nerve-conduction testing company, and brace suppliers to generate medically unnecessary orders and prescriptions billed to insurance companies.

Robson marketed nerve conduction testing to providers for a Huntsville-based company, QBR, which paid providers a flat fee per test ordered. QBR also paid Robson for each test. Robson’s medical practices received over $100,000 in per-test kickbacks from QBR.

Additionally, Robson marketed topical creams for specialty pharmacies and received commissions on prescriptions generated and paid for by insurance. He admitted to obtaining prescriptions for himself and family members regardless of medical necessity. Robson and his associates filled out pre-signed prescriptions to ensure insurance reimbursement, selecting drugs accordingly.

This sentencing is part of a broader investigation into health care fraud and kickbacks involving pain clinics, specialty pharmacies, and a nerve conduction company in North Alabama. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys J.B. Ward and Don Long prosecuting.