Seth Gillman’s patients were supposed to be at death’s door.
But they had an uncanny habit of living for years longer than he predicted, authorities say.
At a hospital, it might have been hailed as a miracle.
Gillman, though, ran a hospice business, meant to care for dying patients in their final days. Their unusually high survival rate is evidence of a huge Medicare and Medicaid fraud, according to a federal complaint filed Friday.
By falsely claiming that multiple patients of his Lisle-based business Passages Hospice were terminally ill, Gillman, 45, of Lincolnwood, bilked the U.S. taxpayer out of up to $650-per-day, per patient between 2006 and 2011, the feds say.
The pricey intensive care is only meant for patients with six months or less to live, but Gillman billed the government for as long as six years per patient, according to the complaint.
In many cases — including that of a 104-year-old who was elderly but not suffering — the costly treatment clearly wasn’t necessary, the feds say. In others, the care Gillman billed for wasn’t even provided, it’s alleged.
The scam helped Passages net $120 million in taxpayer funds between 2006 and 2011, the feds say.
But when staff challenged Gillman, he told them to “mind your own business.”
“I need the $ for blackjack,” he allegedly wrote.
Bonuses he paid to staff to inflate the number of patients needing the priciest care allegedly prompted a Passages director to reprimand an honest nurse for acting like “Mary Poppins.”
Gillman, an attorney who also runs a nursing home business, declined to comment Monday after he was freed on bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Brown.
He faces up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted of fraud and obstructing a federal audit.