Public Notices and Press Releases

Man Sentenced for Orchestrating Multistate Patient Brokering Scheme

Kevin M. Dickau received a 15-month prison sentence for his role in a conspiracy that exploited drug-addicted individuals across several states, including New Jersey.

In a significant legal proceeding, Kevin M. Dickau, 35, of Tustin, California, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his involvement in a patient brokering conspiracy that spanned multiple states, including New Jersey, Maryland, and California. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan on April 23, 2024, following Dickau's guilty plea to a charge of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.

This case, as disclosed by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, highlights a complex scheme where Dickau, along with six other individuals who have already pleaded guilty, manipulated the healthcare system by bribing drug-addicted individuals to enroll in drug rehabilitation programs. This enabled them to collect substantial referral fees from the rehabilitation centers involved.

Dickau, together with cohorts Peter Costas, Seth Logan Welsh, John C. Devlin, and others, operated a marketing company that played a pivotal role in this fraudulent scheme. They established contractual relationships with drug treatment facilities, including those operated by Akikur Mohammad, Lauren Philhower, and Anastasia Passas in California, who paid Dickau's company between $5,000 to $10,000 per referred patient.

The operation involved nationwide recruiters who targeted individuals struggling with drug addiction, offering them bribes to enroll in specific rehabilitation programs. These recruits, possessing robust private health insurance, were often transported across states to the treatment facilities. Recruiters like Costas were instructed to maintain communication with these patients, ensuring they remained in the program long enough to generate the promised referral payments.

The conspiracy not only exploited vulnerable populations but also inflicted millions of dollars in losses on health insurers, according to authorities. Following his prison term, Dickau will undergo three years of supervised release, a part of his sentence that underscores the severity of his actions and the impact on the healthcare system.

The investigation was spearheaded by the FBI with coordination from the District Attorney’s Office in Orange County, California, reflecting a collaborative effort to clamp down on healthcare fraud and protect individuals from exploitative schemes.

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