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Recovering addict made a show of helping other addicts, but now he's charged with bribery, kickbacks

Joseph Lubowitz, 29, is charged with accepting kickbacks and bribes in exchange for getting patients to travel to Florida for unnecessary treatments. (Image Source: KYW-TV screenshot)

A recovering addict made a show of helping other addicts turn their lives around. However, a recently unsealed indictment showed that he was charged with using his charities as an elaborate scheme to bill insurance companies for millions in fraudulent charges, while giving patients desperately in need of help costly and unnecessary treatments.

What are the details?

Joseph Lubowitz, 29, of Pennsylvania ran an addiction recovery center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He publicly made a big deal about helping others suffering from addiction like he had, but the government alleges it was all for show.

Lubowitz is accused of sending patients to Palm Beach County, Florida, unnecessarily in return for kickbacks and bribes. These Florida treatment centers would then run expensive tests on these patients and bill the insurance companies. In some cases, the insurance companies were billed twice for the same test.

The Department of Justice announced that Lubowitz and two other men, Paul R. Materia and Christopher Fuller, both of West Palm Beach, Florida, were charged on June 7 with:

conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, substantive counts of health care fraud, substantive counts charging a violation of the Travel Act, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and substantive counts of money laundering for their involvement in a scheme to illegally recruit patients, pay kickbacks, and defraud health care benefit programs by billing for urine testing and substance abuse treatment that was medically unnecessary, and that was never provided.

This announcement was part of the "largest national health care fraud enforcement action in Department of Justice history."

Lubowitz and his partners are accused of submitting insurance claims worth more than $58 billion and collecting payments of $20 billion, during a 5 1/2-year “alleged fraudulent scheme.”

Fuller and a fourth man, Eric Snyder of Florida, were also charged in a previous health care fraud complaint in July 2017.

What else?

Lubowitz is currently out on bail. A lawyer reportedly with knowledge of the situation told KYW-TV that Lubowitz intended to enter a not guilty plea. If he's convicted, Lubowitz could face as much as 100 years in federal prison.

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