BRIDGEPORT, C.T. — A Milford chiropractor faces up to five years in prison after admitting to conspiring to make false statements relating to health care matters as part of a million-dollar fraud scheme.
Jennifer Lynne, 39, who owns and operates The Backstroke on State Street in Bridgeport, waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney David B. Fein. Lynne will be sentenced on June 7 and faces a maximum of five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
Four others have pleaded guilty — including two chiropractors, a licensed doctor of osteopathic medicine and a formerly licensed physician — as part of “Operation Running Man,” a 14-month undercover fraud investigation led by the FBI. An undercover special agent recorded meetings with an attorney, various doctors and chiropractors arising out of auto-accident personal injury litigation, according to the news release. Lynne is a licensed chiropractor who worked for Marc Kirshner, a chiropractor who owned a practice with offices in Stamford and Bridgeport.
Between about December 2006 and February 2010, Lynne, Kirshner and another chiropractor employed by Kirshner, Jennifer Netter, performed unnecessary chiropractic treatments on individuals who were involved in auto accidents, according to court documents and statements made in court.
Prosecutors said that as part of the scheme, Lynne and Netter, directed by Kirshner, routinely established six-month treatment regimens for patients, regardless of medical need. They also conspired to falsify medical records, including fake patient assessments and exaggerated injury reports. These reports were then passed along with health insurance claims for payment to insurance companies.
Kirshner pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit mail fraud and admitted his role in the conspiracy led to the loss of about $1.69 million by 10 insurance carriers.
Netter, a 38-year-old Danbury resident who was pregnant at the time, pleaded guilty on July 20, 2011, to one count of conspiring to make false statements relating to health care matters. Netter allowed her chiropractor’s license to become inactive on Sept. 30, 2010.
Francisco R. Carbone, a 54-year-old former Bridgeport doctor and psychiatrist pleaded guilty last summer to four federal charges relating to the scam. Dr. James W. Marshall, who operates Immediate Medical Care on Main Street in Monroe pleaded guilty to illegally writing prescriptions at Carbone’s request for narcotic painkillers to patients he never saw.
Court documents claim that an unnamed Bridgeport attorney, with personal injury clients receiving some sort of state aid, sent clients to the chiropractor’s offices for treatment. Carbone, whose license to practice medicine was pulled by the state in 2005, would recommend pain killers and Marshall would prescribe them. Carbone would also require patients to undergo nerve conduction velocity testing at a diagnostic testing center owned by Kirshner. The tests cost $2,000 each. When the lengthy treatments were finished, Carbone would write final medical reports claiming patients suffered permanent disabilities in the accidents.
Kirshner, Netter, Carbone and Marshall are all awaiting sentencing. The investigation is ongoing and the unnamed Bridgeport lawyer is reportedly a target of the probe.