Nurse ringleader in allergy testing scam gets 9-year sentence

  1. Nurse sentenced in allergy-testing fraud
    A nurse who ran an allergy-testing fraud scheme was sentenced in Chicago to nine years in prison and ordered to pay back $2.6 million, U.S. officials said.

    Officials said nurse John Froelich, 52, formerly of Harwood Heights, Ill., was the ringleader among nine defendants. The nine pleaded guilty to federal charges of submitting fraudulent bills totaling $11.5 million to more than 200 insurance companies, which paid approximately $2.6 million in false claims.

    Using the name American Institute of Allergy, consisting of a group of businesses in the Chicago area, northwest Indiana and Phoenix, Froelich and his fellow defendants advertised free blood tests, then drew blood from about 4,000 patients, officials said.

    No one was injured in the scheme, but the institute used unqualified individuals to administer allergy shots without proper medical evaluation or supervision to 800 people in unsanitary conditions, officials said in a U.S. Justice Department release.

    Froelich, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud in October 2008, testified at the trial of Dr. Hartley Thomas of Valparaiso, Ind. Thomas, the only defendant who went to trial among the 10 individuals, including four physicians, charged in a 34-count indictment, was convicted but died before sentence was imposed.
    Amazing that they were able to get away with bilking that much money for seven years before they got caught. Wonder what kind of sentences/fines the doctors involved got.
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  3. by   Vito Andolini
    This is terribly sad, also frightening and puzzling. What were the reasons they did this, besides greed, I guess?
  4. by   blue note
    Quote from Vito Andolini
    This is terribly sad, also frightening and puzzling. What were the reasons they did this, besides greed, I guess?
    I can't think of any other reason besides greed. You'd think the insurance companies would do a better job of sniffing out bogus claims though. i mean, these guys were able to get away with it for seven years!
  5. by   CityKat
    no words except, wow.
  6. by   EwwThat'sNasty
    Back in the early '90s the State of Illinois agreed to pay several fines for Medicare/Medicaid fraud. Each fine exceeed $100 million dollars, I think at least one was $300 million. Nobody went to jail.

    An interesting sidenote: Some years back I wanted a Lucent (HP) electronic stethoscope as a new student nurse since my hearing is not great. I searched on Ebay and found several including one new (unused) one. The seller had zero feedback, so I wrote to the fellow asking for an address and some proof that he was "real." His note came back, a bit snappily saying: "I am a well known board certified Cardiologist who has many published works." I thought "ok, that's good...I researched his address, a well-to-do section of Florida, and looked for him on the appropriate board of cardiologists and found many written works, and it was true that he was affiliated and certified. But I was also surprised to find may google "hits" all from the state of NY telling how this Dr. was accused and found guilty of diluting and administering innoculations. His license had been revoked, his practice shut down, thus the spare equipment that he was selling. I read nothing about jail time...and the stethoscope was new and quite wonderful to work with.

    Hard to believe that a Doctor with such a business would dilute immunizations to gain perhaps $6-$10/innoculation. At least his license was revoked.
  7. by   dblpn
    This is very sad indeed, i'm speechless.