Township Man Charged By Feds With Medicare Fraud

A township man is free on $150,000 bail after his arrest on a charge that he convinced hundreds of senior citizens to submit to unnecessary genetic testing and defrauded Medicare out of more than $1 million, collecting thousands in commissions along the way.

Seth Rehfuss, 41, was arrested the morning of Dec. 2 at his Somerset home, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s office.

Authorities allege that since at least July 2014, Rehfuss used a Somerset-based non-profit called Good Samaritans of America to make presentations to residents of low-income senior housing complexes, promising free ice cream in exchange for their attendance.

The presentations were purportedly to talk about Good Samaritans’ services of helping senior citizens navigate federal benefits programs, but, according to the release, were in reality a front to present information about genetic testing.

The complaint alleges that Rehfuss claimed Good Samaritans was a “trusted non-profit” when in reality, “The Good Samaritans of America was a front for Seth Rehfuss and others to present information about genetic testing.”

Rehfuss, the complaint alleges, used “fear-based tactics” during the presentations, including “suggesting the senior citizens would be vulnerable to heart attacks, stroke, cancer and suicide if they did not have the genetic testing,” according to the release. “In addition, Rehfuss claimed that the genetic testing allowed for ‘personalized medicine’.”

The DNA swabs were taken by Rehfuss and others, the complaint alleges, even though there were no medical personnel present, and there was no determination by a health care provider that the testing was medically necessary or appropriate.

The complaint alleges that Rehfuss used Craigslist advertisements to recruit healthcare providers to sign their names to to requisition forms authorizing the testing for patients they’d never seen.

The requisition forms also contained personal information about the patients, according to the complaint.

As a result, the complaint alleges, Rehfuss caused Medicare to pay more than $1 million to two clinical labs – located in Virginia and California – from which Rehfuss allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars in commissions.

The investigation revealed that Rehfuss and unnamed accomplices were ready to spread the operation into other states, including Georgia, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona.

Rehfuss in October created another Web site, “Senior Helping Hands,” the stated mission of which is “Bringing education and access of federal, state and local programs to low income senior, the disabled and veterans.”

The health care fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Rehfuss made his initial appearance Dec. 2 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court.

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