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United States v. Griffith

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 22, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
D-3 Wilfred Griffith, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION REGARDING DEFENDANT'S OBJECTIONS TO THE PRESENTENCE REPORT AND DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR DOWNWARD DEPARTURE (Doc. #165)

SEAN F. COX, District Judge.

On February 6, 2015, Defendant Wilfred Griffith ("Defendant" or "Griffith") was convicted by a jury of both counts of the First Superceding Indictment: Count One - Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud, and Count Two - Conspiracy to Pay and Receive Kickbacks. (First Superceding Indictment, Doc. #39; Verdict Form as to Griffith, Doc. #135).

This Court held a Sentencing Hearing as to Defendant Griffith on July 17, 2015. During the Sentencing Hearing, the Court heard argument concerning the twenty-two (22) objections Defendant made to the Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR").

For the reasons stated on the record, which are re-stated herein, Defendant's objections to the PSR that were not resolved by the parties are overruled and Defendant's Motion for Downward Departure is DENIED.

Objection #1

Defendant objects to page 3 of the PSR because has never used the alias "Wilfred Griffin." This is merely a name that has been associated with Defendant, as discovered by the Probation Department through their search of government databases such as ATLAS. This information is proper, and Defendant's objection is overruled.

Objection #2

Defendant objects to page 3 of the PSR because it lists an alias Social Security Number purportedly associated with Defendant: XXX-XX-6843. Defendant's actual SSN is XXX-XX-6483. Defendant states he has never used an alias SSN.

Again, this is merely an SSN that has been associated with Defendant, as discovered by the Probation Department through their search of government databases. This information is properly contained in the PSR, and Defendant's objection is overruled.

Objection #3

Defendant states that his doctorate degree of doctor of medicine from Grace University School of Medicine should be noted in the PSR. The parties resolved this objection prior to the Sentencing Hearing.

Objection #4

Defendant objects to paragraph 9 of the PSR because it "asserts inaccurate fact [sic] surrounding the charges, that are based upon initial arrest reports, and violate the Defendant's rights." Paragraph nine described the manner and means of the charged conspiracy.

At Defendant's trial, Special Agent Abhijit Dixit testified that Griffith told SA Dixit that he 1) referred patients to Cherish using the names of Dr. Smith and Dr. Benito; and 2) that Hassan paid him $400 for each referral. Government witness Allison Knuckles testified that, in exchange for narcotics prescriptions, she signed and certified treatment forms even though she received no physical therapy. Government witness Lebaron Hall testified that he told Defendant that Medicare was being billed for services he never received, but that Defendant told him not to worry, Medicare was paying for it.

The Court finds that the information contained in paragraph nine of the PSR is proper. It was contained in the First Superceding Indictment and was substantiated by the evidence submitted at trial. Defendant's objection #4 is overruled.

Objection #5

Defendant objects to paragraph thirteen of the PSR because he claims that there is no evidence to substantiate that any referral paperwork sent to co-Defendant Hassan regarding home health care services had not been signed by a licensed physician. Defendant also appears to object to the discussion of "kickbacks."

The Court concludes that the information contained in paragraph 13 is proper. Defendant, who is not a licensed physician, admitted to signing referral paperwork to send Medicare beneficiaries to Cherish for home health care services. Regarding the discussion of "kickbacks" in paragraph thirteen, Griffith was convicted of Count Two - Conspiracy to Pay and Receive Kickbacks. The evidence at trial showed that co-Defendant Hassan paid Defendant to refer Medicare patients to Cherish Home Health Care. Defendant's objection #5 is overruled.

Objection #6

Defendant argues that the statement contained in paragraph 14 of the PSR that he prescribed drugs, including narcotics, should be stricken because no filled or unfilled prescriptions were submitted into evidence.

The Court finds that the information contained in paragraph 14 is proper. Defendant admitted to SA Dixit that he wrote narcotics prescriptions. (Doc. #158 at 14). Allison Knuckles testified at trial that Defendant prescribed her Oxycontin and Lortab, which are narcotic pain relievers. Lebaron Hall also testified at trial that Defendant prescribed him narcotics. Defendant's objection #6 is overruled.

Objection #7

Defendant objects to paragraph seventeen of the PSR-specifically, the statement that patients referred to Cherish did not actually receive home health care services. Defendant maintains that only one patient testified that he did not receive services. Defendant also claims there is no evidence that he faxed lists of Medicare beneficiaries to Cherish so that Cherish could bill Medicare for services.

The Court finds that the information in paragraph seventeen is corroborated by trial evidence. Lebaron Hall testified that he did not receive services that were billed to Medicare. Allison Knuckles testified that she never received any physical therapy from Cherish. Rajbir Sandhu, a former Cherish employee, testified that Griffith would fax in lists of prospective patients, that she would check their Medicare eligibility and fax the list back to Griffith, and then a referral would come in to start home healthcare services. Griffith was only paid a referral fee for Medicare patients. The ...


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