Prosecutors fight spine surgeon's plea for new trial after $40M Texas kickback dispute

Alan Condon -  

Prosecutors argued in a federal court on Nov. 11 that Michael Rimlawi, MD, should not be granted a new trial after he was convicted for his role in a $40 million kickback dispute in April, reports Law360.

Texas spine surgeon Dr. Rimlawi is seeking a new trial as he contends the federal Anti-Kickback Statute — the law under which he was convicted — is unconstitutionally vague.

Dr. Rimlawi and three other physicians were convicted after a jury found them guilty of bribery and both paying and accepting kickbacks.

It was found that the now-defunct Forest Park Medical Center in Dallas illegally paid for operations to enhance its bottom line before it closed. 

Prosecutors argued in April that the physicians agreed to refer patients to FPMC in exchange for money to advertise their practices, which helped some of their practices grow significantly.

It was the first time that North Texas prosecutors used the Travel Act, a federal law, to win kickback and bribery convictions against healthcare workers who evaded federal insurance programs such as Medicare to avoid such an outcome, according to The Dallas News.

Prosecutors argued on Nov. 11 that Dr. Rimlawi failed to make the case that the jury's April verdict was error-ridden and should be voided.

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