Nurse practitioner pleads guilty in $15M equipment scheme

July 1, 2022 GMT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina nurse has pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme to defraud Medicare of nearly $15 million by filing claims for medically unnecessary orthopedic braces and other medical equipment, a prosecutor said.

Justin Segrest, 44, of Mount Airy pleaded guilty on Thursday to a conspiracy charge, said Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, in a news release.

During 2018 and 2019, Segrest was a nurse practitioner and was working for a Delaware telemedicine company. Filed plea documents and information presented at a plea hearing showed Segrest was responsible for thousands of claims to be submitted for the medical equipment.

Segrest admitted in court to signing false medical records describing “assessments” of Medicare beneficiaries and certifying that he had performed medical examinations when he actually had no contact with beneficiaries and made no determination as to whether the devices were medically necessary or the beneficiaries needed them.

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Also, prosecutors said Segrest received unsigned orders for orthopedic braces for the beneficiaries, which he signed and returned to his company in exchange for $15 for per fraudulent assessment.

Segrest, who’s free on bond, faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. No sentencing date has been scheduled.