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Two Twin Cities chiropractors sentenced to prison for insurance fraud schemes

10/2/2018 5:06:57 PM

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Commerce Department announced that two Twin Cities chiropractors have been sentenced to prison for their roles in separate multi-million dollar insurance fraud conspiracies.

Adam John Burke, age 34, of Minneapolis, was sentenced to 90 months in prison. Preston Ellard Forthun, age 40, of Bloomington, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. 

Both defendants were found guilty last year in separate jury trials before Senior Judge Michael J. Davis in U.S. District Court. Burke was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 12 counts of mail fraud. Forthun was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud and seven counts of wire fraud. 

Their cases were the result of investigations conducted by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Minneapolis Police Department, Saint Paul Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations provided additional assistance.

“These chiropractors put personal greed above their professional duty,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. “These sentences send a strong message that health insurance fraud is a serious crime and those who perpetrate it will be investigated and prosecuted. The Commerce Fraud Bureau will continue to aggressively pursue criminals who scam Minnesotans.”

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald said, “Mr. Forthun and Mr. Burke are two medical professionals who chose to cater to their own greed above their patients’ chiropractic care. Today, they are faced with the consequences of their criminal actions.” 

“The defendants took an oath to help - but their scheme defrauded all of us, and today's sentence shows that there are severe penalties for those who seek to defraud the system,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jill Sanborn. “I want to thank the entire team who worked tirelessly to unwind this scheme and get us to where we are today.”

Both Forthun and Burke were licensed Doctors of Chiropractic. As proven at trial, they devised separate schemes to defraud auto insurance companies by hiring patient recruiters, known as “runners,” to solicit auto accident victims to attend treatments at their clinics. 

Forthun and Burke paid the runners for each patient they recruited, and the runners in turn typically paid the patients to induce them to attend treatments at the clinic. Both fraud schemes were structured in a way that would maximize their clinics’ billings to insurance companies.

Knowing that the runners were paying patients, Forthun and Burke withheld kickback payments to the runners until after the patients had attended a certain number of treatment sessions. Thus, the kickback payments were intended to ensure that patients came for treatments at the defendants’ clinics because of the payments, as opposed to the necessity and reasonableness of the treatments. 

As a result of their fraud schemes, Forthun and Burke billed millions of dollars to the insurance companies.


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