An Omaha, NE, man was sentenced to 46 months in prison for using the personal information of senior living residents in several states to defraud Medicare and state Medicaid agencies out of thousands of dollars through fraudulent claims, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
Nereus Sutko also was ordered to pay $809,561 in restitution and to forfeit a Corvette and a speedboat. He will serve a three-year term of supervised release following his prison term. Sutko is set to report to the Board of Prisons on Sept. 9 to begin his sentence.
In 2017, investigators began receiving reports of suspicious billings by Better Lives LLC, a durable medical equipment and medical supplies company owned by Sutko and based in Omaha, NE. He primarily targeted older adults in Lincoln and Omaha, NE, and Des Moines, IA, the Justice Department said.
The investigation showed that between 2010 and 2019, Sutko hosted pizza parties and other gatherings at assisted living communities, retirement centers and affordable senior housing complexes. There, he obtained healthcare program beneficiaries’ personal and insurance information under the guise of providing free items, such as healing pads or shoe inserts. Sutko also offered gift cards and other rewards to people who referred clients to him or provided him with the names and insurance information of beneficiaries.
Sutko billed healthcare programs, including Medicare and the Nebraska and Iowa Medicaid programs, for fitted braces and other DME that was never prescribed nor delivered.
In total, he was paid more than $1.8 million by Medicare and state Medicaid programs between 2010 and 2019 for equipment that was never prescribed or given to beneficiaries. Sutko was arrested in 2019, pleading guilty to healthcare fraud in December.