Supreme Court agrees to hear Texas man’s appeal against identity theft conviction in Medicaid fraud case

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The Supreme Court agreed Nov. 10 to hear the appeal of a Texas man convicted of health care fraud who argues that he was unjustly separately convicted under a federal aggravated identity theft law because a form he filed contained a patient’s name.

The granting of the single petition on Nov. 10 was unexpected. The court previously announced it would issue new orders on Nov. 14.

The case is Dubin v. United States, court file 22-10. The court provided no explanation why it granted the petition for review. Only four of the nine justices need to vote to hear a case in order for it to proceed to a hearing.

The petitioner, David Dubin, worked as a managing partner for PARTS, a psychology practice in Texas created by his father, William Dubin, a licensed psychologist.

Both men were convicted in a federal district court in a scheme to defraud Texas’s Medicaid program. A divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit narrowly affirmed the convictions in March.

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that serves low-income people of all ages and varies from state to state. It’s run by state and local governments within federal guidelines. Each state sets its own rules about eligibility and services. Although patients usually don’t have to pay for covered medical expenses, a small co-payment is sometimes required.

David Dubin filed a claim with Medicaid for $540 for services provided to a patient identified as Patient L. The government did not dispute that the corporation treated the patient or that it had the authority to use the patient’s name in the billing process. Nor did the government argue that the bill was false, according to Dubin’s petition (pdf) filed on June 30.

“Nor did the government contend that the bill was false because of anything petitioner said (or didn’t say) about Patient L’s identity. Instead, the government’s theory was that petitioner overbilled Medicaid for the services provided,” which was sufficient for a conviction for health care fraud.

“But the government was not content with that conviction. It also indicted petitioner for aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028A,” arguing that Dubin violated the identity theft law because he placed Patient L’s “identifying information on the fraudulent Medicaid claim form.”

The 5th Circuit held that “a defendant is guilty of aggravated identity theft anytime he recites someone else’s name as part of a predicate crime—even when he has authority to use that person’s name and the predicate crime does not involve a misrepresentation about that person’s identity,” the petition states.

Dubin argues that the 5th Circuit’s interpretation of the law, which requires that a mandatory two-year sentence must be stacked on top of the sentence for fraud, applies “not only to most every commission of healthcare fraud, but would also sweep in tax preparers, immigration attorneys,  and anyone else convicted of submitting any form on someone’s behalf that contains a misrepresentation unrelated to the person’s identity.”

The Biden administration had urged the Supreme Court to reject the case.

This article by Matthew Vadum appeared Nov. 10, 2022, in The Epoch Times.