Missouri neurosurgeon, fiancee fined $5.49M in kickback case involving spinal implant distributor: 5 things to know


Cape Girardeau, Mo.-based neurosurgeon Sonjay Fonn, MD, and his fiancee Deborah Seeger were convicted of submitting false claims to CMS and incurred fines of $5.49 million, according to the Southeast Missourian.


Here are five things to know:

1. Prosecutors said Ms. Seeger founded DS Medical, a spinal implant distributorship, in November 2008 and Dr. Fonn used the company's implants in most of his surgeries from 2009 to 2012. CMS reportedly paid for 228 of Dr. Fonn's spine surgeries using those devices.

2. When Dr. Fonn used DS Medical implants, Ms. Seeger reportedly received 50 percent commission. According to the report, she used some of that income to "benefit" Dr. Fonn with purchases including home improvements and a yacht.

3. Prosecutors accused Dr. Fonn and Ms. Seeger of violating anti-kickback statute. Initially, a group of Cape Girardeau-based physicians brought a civil case against the couple before the federal government stepped in, and those individuals will receive a percentage of the final award.

4. In 2014, a federal grand jury indicted the couple on one count of conspiracy to solicit and receive illegal kickbacks and three additional counts of violating the anti-kickback statute.

5. The original case alleged Dr. Fonn's practice in Cape Girardeau, Midwest Neurosurgeons, had an "exclusive arrangement" with Ms. Seeger, generating significant profits.

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