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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey recently announced that Alexander Schleider of Lakewood pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in a durable medical equipment (DME) kickback scheme.

Schleider owned and operated several DME companies that provided orthotic braces to beneficiaries of Medicare and other healthcare benefit programs regardless of medical necessity. He and his co-conspirators were able to obtain prescriptions for the braces through a series of kickbacks and bribes to individuals operating marketing call centers, who in turn used the services of telemedicine companies. The scheme caused Medicare and other healthcare programs to incur losses of $21.7 million.

Schleider also committed wire fraud related to COVID-19 pandemic relief funds. One of his companies received $322,237 from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Provider Relief Fund. He falsely attested that the company provided diagnoses, testing, and care for individuals with COVID-19, and that the payment would be used only to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. The funds were instead used to purchase real estate, vehicles, and other items.

Schleider faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and up to 20 years in jail and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, for wire fraud.

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