Former Florida physician sentenced to 20 years for $746M fraud scheme

Former physician Michael Ligotti was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to surrender his medical license for a $746 million scheme involving substance abuse treatment centers, the U.S. Justice Department said Jan. 9. 

Mr. Ligotti served as the medical director and authorizing physician for over 50 sober homes, substance abuse treatment facilities and clinical testing laboratories. He signed orders for medically unnecessary urine tests for patients, often billing healthcare benefit programs thousands of dollars for a single test. 

In exchange for Mr. Ligotti's authorization of these tests, the treatment center required patients to visit Mr. Ligotti's clinic, allowing Dr. Ligotti to profit by billing the patients' private health insurance plans for duplicative, medically unnecessary urine drug tests. 

From 2011 to 2020, healthcare benefit programs were billed more than $746 million and paid roughly $127 million for fraudulent urine drug tests and addiction treatments. 

Mr. Ligotti pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in October.

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