Sentencing for Final Forest Park Medical Defendants Ongoing

Sentencing continues Friday for the remaining slate of defendants in the Forest Park Medical Center fraud case, with at least seven defendants so far receiving sentences.

Among those in court this week are Michael Rimlawi and Douglas Sung Won, both of Preston Hollow; Wade Barker, formerly of Highland Park; and Alan Beauchamp, who lives in the Turtle Creek neighborhood.

Wilton McPherson “Mac” Burt, Iris Forrest, Shawn Henry, Mrugeshkumar Kumar Shah, Barker, Won, and Rimlawi have been sentenced so far.

Rimlawi, a former spine surgeon and partner in the medical group, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison and was ordered to make restitution.

Won, also a former spine surgeon and partner, was sentenced to 5 years in prison. He was also ordered to make restitution.

The Texas Board of Medical Examiners revoked the licenses of Rimlawi and Won.

Burt, the medical center’s administrator, was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison, and ordered to forfeit $4,560,852 in property the court determined was obtained through the proceeds of the fraud.

Forrest, an occupational-injury consultant, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for taking money to direct workers’ compensation insurance patients to Forest Park for treatment.

Henry was sentenced to 7 1/2 years and was ordered to forfeit assets obtained through the bribes he received.

Shah, a doctor, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

Barker, a bariatric surgeon and co-founder of Forest Park Medical, received the 5-year sentence recommended by prosecutors because of a plea deal and his testimony in court.

Jackson Jacob, Frank Gonzales Jr., David Daesung Kim, Israel Ortiz, and Beauchamp will be sentenced Friday.

All told, 21 were accused of various charges stemming from the $200 million fraud case and the accompanying NextHealth scheme.

In August, Highland Park anesthesiologist Richard Ferdinand Toussaint Jr. was ordered to pay more than $82.9 million in restitution and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox said.

He was already serving a 41-month federal prison sentence for a separate health care fraud conviction. In March 2018, he pleaded guilty to his involvement in the Forest Park Medical case, admitting to one count of conspiracy to pay health care bribes and kickbacks and one count of illegal remuneration under the Travel Act.

Toussaint admitted to collaborating with co-defendant Barker, a bariatric surgeon, to launch Forest Park Medical Center, a physician-owned hospital for bariatric and spinal surgery patients, in 2008, and then working with hospital manager Beauchamp, Barker, and others to lure patients with high-reimbursing, out-of-network private insurance to the now-defunct hospital by paying surgeons for referrals.

Prosecutors said that most of the $40 million in kickbacks were euphemistically called consulting fees or “marketing money,” and was disbursed as a percentage of surgeries each doctor referred to the hospital.

“Forest Park allegedly waived co-insurance, assured patients they would pay in-network prices,” federal officials said. “Because they knew insurers wouldn’t tolerate such practices, they concealed the patient discounts and wrote off the difference as uncollected ‘bad debt.’”

Barker, Beauchamp, Kelly Wade Loter, Kim, Ortiz, Andrea Kay Smith, Gonzales, Andrew Jonathan Hillman, and Semyon Narosov pleaded guilty before trial. Narasov was sentenced to 76 months in federal prison, and Hillman, also of Preston Hollow, was sentenced to 66 months and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.

Burt, Jacob, Won, Rimlawi, Henry, Shah, and Forrest were convicted after their trials.

You can read more about the case here.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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