Tallahassee doctor pleads guilty to defrauding health insurance providers of $29 million and performing unnecessary invasive surgical procedures on hundreds of patients

 

Date: December 18, 2020
Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov
 
Tallahassee, FL - Dr. Moses deGraft-Johnson, a dual citizen of the United States and Ghana, pled guilty today to committing health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
 
Over the course of almost four years, beginning in late 2015 or early 2016 until his arrest in February 2020, deGraft-Johnson did significant harm to hundreds of patients living in the Tallahassee area. Many of these innocent victims underwent unnecessary and invasive surgical procedures, while others were victimized through medical records reflecting procedures he did not perform – erroneous and misleading records that could cause doctors in the future to determine a mistaken course of medical treatment for many patients.
 
deGraft-Johnson owned and operated Thorvasc PA, a Florida corporation doing business as the Heart and Vascular Institute of North Florida (HVINF). HVINF was a physician’s office and outpatient catheterization laboratory located in Tallahassee. As part of his plea, deGraft-Johnson acknowledged engaging in a wide-ranging and consistent pattern of performing two invasive diagnostic angiography procedures - one on each leg - on hundreds of his patients, whether medically indicated or not. When his patients returned for follow-up office visits, deGraft-Johnson submitted fraudulent claims to their insurance companies stating he performed atherectomies during the appointments. Using this scheme, deGraft-Johnson admits he falsely claimed to have performed over 3,000 of these surgical procedures to clear blockages in arteries in as many as 845 of his patients’ legs.
 
To date, ongoing investigation and analysis have determined that the defendant fraudulently obtained at least $29 million – and very likely more. The United States is aggressively pursuing all of deGraft-Johnson’s forfeitable assets in the U.S. and overseas, including luxury vehicles; jewelry; homes in Manhattan, Southampton, New York, Miami, and the Houston area; and more than $1 million in cash.
 
deGraft-Johnson inappropriately gained access to his vulnerable victims by establishing relationships with churches, nursing homes, a hospital, and an outreach organization. The United States Attorney’s Office is working to uncover all aspects of the methods he used to identify and exploit his former patients, many of them in underserved communities. Prosecutors are also pursuing information regarding the unnecessary medical procedures and falsified medical records, so that the defendant’s former patients may be properly informed regarding their true medical conditions and can secure appropriate treatment going forward.
 
deGraft-Johnson pled guilty to 56 counts of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The conspiracy and health care fraud charges each have a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, and a maximum fine equal to twice the value of the loss to the health care benefit program. The aggravated identity theft charge has a mandatory sentence of 2 years of imprisonment, which must be consecutive to any other sentence, and a maximum fine of $250,000. deGraft-Johnson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 8, 2021, at the United States District Court in Tallahassee.
 
This case is the result of the collaborative work of the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Florida Attorney General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew J. Grogan.