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Owner of Telemedicine Companies Charged with $110 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

The owner of Expansion Media (Expansion) and Hybrid Management Group (Hybrid) has been charged and has agreed to plead guilty in connection with a $110 million telemedicine fraud scheme involving medically unnecessary durable medical equipment (DME), including orthotics such as back and knee braces. 

Steven Richardson, 40, of Parkland, Fla., has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled by the Court. 

According to the charging documents, between March 2016 and January 2023, Richardson, through his companies Expansion and Hybrid, entered into business relationships with telemarketing companies that generated leads by targeting Medicare beneficiaries. The telemarketers then allegedly paid Expansion and Hybrid on a per-order basis to generate orders for DME for these beneficiaries. To arrange for these orders to be signed, Richardson allegedly worked with medical staffing companies – including one in Massachusetts – to find doctors and nurses who were willing to review and sign prepopulated orders, typically without any contact with the beneficiaries. It is alleged that the records falsely portrayed the medical providers as having performed a legitimate examination of the beneficiary. Richardson then allegedly provided the signed orders to the telemarketing companies which sold the orders to DME suppliers. Richardson allegedly knew that these DME suppliers would use the signed orders to submit claims to Medicare for DME that was medically unnecessary, based on false documentation and tainted by kickbacks.

The charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, supervised release for up to three years and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Robert Coviello, Special Agent in Charge, Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General; Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Boston Division; Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; Carol S. Hamilton, Regional Director, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor; and Patrick J. Hegarty, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigation Service, North East Field Office made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Graber and Howard Locker of the Health Care Fraud Unit and Alexandra Brazier and Lindsey Ross of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.