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A New York acupuncturist recently admitted to billing Amtrak’s health care benefit plan for services that were never provided and were medically unnecessary. From January 2019 through June 2022, Punson Figueroa of Long Island City, New York paid Amtrak employees hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash kickbacks in order to use their personal and insurance information to submit fraudulent claims. The scheme netted Figueroa and her co-conspirators approximately $9 million.

The fraud was uncovered in June 2021, when an undercover law enforcement agent posed as an Amtrak employee and met with Figueroa. She instructed the agent to sign several forms indicating that he received certain services and told the agent not to date the signatures. Figueroa handed the agent an envelope with $1,000 cash at a follow-up meeting. Over a few months, Figueroa submitted dozens of false claims to Amtrak’s health care plan using the agent’s insurance information.

In Newark federal court, Figueroa pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for July 16, 2024.

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