New Medicare Fraud Defense: “My Mom Made Me Do It!”

Charged with 33 counts of Medicare fraud netting some $45 million in false claims, Richard Tinimbang invoked a novel defense: “My mom made me do it!”

That, according to Law360, is the gist of the opening statement of Richard’s defense attorney on February 27.  The attorney described Richard’s mother, Josie, as the mastermind behind the fraud scheme.  Josie, he said, was a dictator who ran the scheme with an iron fist and kept her family in the dark.  So, naturally, “Richard did what mom said to do.”

And exactly what did mom say to do?  According to the indictment, she said, among other things, to pay illegal bribes and kickbacks for Medicare referrals, enroll beneficiaries in home health care programs although they didn’t quality, falsify medical records, falsely discharge and re-enroll beneficiaries, and submit fraudulent Medicare bills.  And that, the indictment says, is exactly what Richard and the 14 other defendants did.

Health care attorneys are anxiously waiting to see whether this new defense is effective.  One seasoned defense attorney observed, “I have some clients whose moms have passed away.  If this defense works, I’m advising them to get adopted.”

The case is United States v. Tinimbang et al., No. 1:14-cr-00732 (N.D. Ill.)

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