Telehealth Doctor Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Healthcare Investigation

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Most telehealth-related criminal enforcement involves one of more of several common charges—e.g., conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. 371 or 18 USC 1349; healthcare fraud, 18 USC § 1347, violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 USC 1320a-7b; and false statements related to healthcare matters, 18 USC 1035. But as in other white-collar investigations, prosecutors have a broad range of statutes to use in telehealth cases. Many cases involve money laundering charges, mail or wire fraud counts, or other charges.

The most recent example is U.S. vs. Lorraine De Blanche, MD, 4:20-cr-233, in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Dr. De Blanch was charged and pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing a criminal investigation of a healthcare offense under 18 U.S.C. 1518. Section 1518 is a relatively rarely used statute, but this case highlights the array of enforcement tools at DOJ’s disposal and the peril inherent in any telehealth investigation.

Ty Howard

Ty Howard

Ty Howard is an attorney specializing in internal investigations, government enforcement, and white-collar criminal defense. A former federal and state prosecutor, Ty focuses his practice on helping businesses and individuals in highly regulated industries navigate government investigations, civil and criminal litigation, and compliance issues.

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