Former Florida physician, medical director gets 20 years prison in 'largest-ever' case of its kind

Former Florida physician Michael Ligotti, DO, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in October in the Justice Department's largest addiction fraud treatment case ever, the department said Jan. 9.

He was ordered to surrender his medical license at sentencing, the Justice Department said.

Mr. Ligotti, 48, served as medical director for more than 50 sober homes, addiction treatment centers and clinical testing labs, the Justice Department said. From 2011 to 2020, he signed more than 135 standing orders for expensive and unnecessary drug tests for patients at various treatment centers.

Those centers regularly sent patient urine specimens to labs that billed CMS and private insurance companies thousands of dollars per test, the Justice Department said. In exchange for Mr. Ligotti's authorization, the treatment centers would either force their patients to routinely visit his clinic for additional treatment and testing, or they would allow Mr. Ligotti's staff to do tests and treatment onsite.

Mr. Ligotti allegedly charged some addiction patients between $10,000 and $20,000 for one visit, the Justice Department said. Overall, the fraud accounted for more than $746 million in billings and about $127 million in reimbursements.

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