By Jill Fox
A Parkland resident was among five people charged on Wednesday for allegedly orchestrating a nationwide kickback and bribery scheme.
Patsy “Pat” Joseph Truglia, 53, of Parkland and four other individuals allegedly ordered orthotic braces for Medicare beneficiaries and received health care kickbacks for the medically unnecessary equipment.
Truglia, and Thomas Farese, 78, the owners of orthotic brace suppliers, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and three counts of health care fraud.
Christopher Cirri, 63, and Nicholas DeFonte, 72, of New Jersey, owners of a fraudulent marketing company, were charged on Thursday with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with paying and receiving health care kickbacks for orthotic brace orders.
Domenic Gatto, 46, of Palm Beach Gardens, also an owner of an orthotic brace supplier, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care in connection with soliciting and receiving health care kickbacks.
The complaint alleged that between October 2017 and April 2019, the five men participated in a nationwide conspiracy to defraud Medicare, TRICARE, Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other federal and private healthcare benefit programs. The total loss was approximately $65 million.
The complaint alleged that Truglia, Cirri, and DeFonte operated marketing call centers to solicit beneficiaries of health care benefit programs and to entice them to accept orthotic braces regardless of need.
Farese and Truglia purchased these brace orders through orthotic brace suppliers and billed the health care benefit programs for the orders. To conceal their ownership in the brace suppliers, Farese and Truglia provided other people’s names to Medicare instead of their own.
This isn’t the first legal incident for Truglia. In September 2020, Truglia was arrested for conspiracy to defraud Medicare and commit health care fraud, submit false statements to Medicare, and violate the federal anti-kickback statute and other related charges.
In 2018, records show Truglia and his wife purchased a $1.25 million home in Parkland Golf & Country Club.
Health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud charges are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the loss caused by the offense, whichever is greater.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.