Three former managers at AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Inc. (AHF) have come forward alleging the organization has been defrauding federal healthcare programs for the past five years, raking in as much as $100 million in the process.
AHS is a global nonprofit based in Los Angeles and the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the U.S., with over 350,000 patients. At least, according to its website. That number, it has now been alleged, may be greatly inflated.
In a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April 3, whistleblowers Jack Carrel, Mauricio Ferrer, and Shawn Loftis, all of whom held management positions with AHF before being fired from their jobs after questioning the organization’s referral practices, claim AHF boosted funding from federal healthcare programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and Health and Human Services HIV/AIDS grant programs, by offering illegal kickbacks of $100 to employees who created false HIV/AIDS referrals, and $50 to patients who patronized its clinics and pharmacies.
According to the complaint, the fraud began back in 2010 and took place in 11 different states plus Washington, D.C., and resulting in AHF collecting more than $20 million a year off thousands of illegal referrals.
“AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s fraudulent conduct is made even worse by the fact that these funds were entrusted to this healthcare company for the purpose of assisting a vulnerable patient population consisting of individuals living with HIV/AIDS, of whom more than 1.1 million reside in the United States,” lead counsel member Theodore Leopold, whose firm is representing the three plaintiffs, said in a statement earlier this week.
So far, AHF is keeping pretty mum about the allegations, other than to deny them. But we have a feeling this is going to get ugly.