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Omaha man sentenced for $1.8 million in healthcare fraud

(WCAX)
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 4:55 PM CDT
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An Omaha man was sentenced to 46 months in prison Tuesday for healthcare fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Nebraska.

Nereus Sutko, 38, will also serve a three-year term of supervised release following his prison term and was also ordered to pay $809,561 in restitution and forfeit property including a speedboat and a Corvette.

According to the attorney’s office, investigators received reports of suspicious billings by Better Lives, LLC in 2017, which was operated by Sutko between 2010 and 2019.

The business purported to sell durable medical equipment to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Sutko would host pizza parties and other gatherings at senior living and low-income housing facilities to gather the personal and insurance info for beneficiaries while pretending he would give them free items like heating pads or shoe inserts.

Sutko offered gift cards and other gifts to those who referred beneficiaries to him or names and information of beneficiaries.

He then billed healthcare programs including Medicare, Nebraska and Iowa Medicaid for fitted braces and other equipment that was never prescribed or given to beneficiaries.

Investigators ended up interviewing dozens of beneficiaries in Lincoln, Omaha and Des Moines.

Sutko was paid more than $1.8 million by Medicare and state Medicaid programs between 2010 to 2019.

A search warrant was executed at Sutko’s residence in Omaha on May 8, 2019 by several federal and state agencies.

“Sutko thought his scams would result in riches, but he failed to account for the commitment of our investigators to root out such fraud,” said Curt Muller, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of

Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We will continue working with our Federal and State law enforcement partners to protect taxpayers and the integrity of government health programs.”