Jefferson County Chiropractor Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison, Ordered to Repay $4.3 Million for Health Care, Disability Fraud
Sep 25, 2023
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri
ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey on Friday sentenced a chiropractor from Jefferson County, Missouri to four years in prison and ordered him to repay $4.3 million lost to a disability and health care fraud scheme that involved 17 other defendants.
Beginning in 2011, Thomas G. Hobbs, now 66, fraudulently assisted patients in receiving disability benefit payments through the Social Security Administration’s Disability Trust Fund and through private disability benefit insurance providers. He also falsely claimed to have a medical license.
“This sentence is a long-awaited milestone in a complex disability fraud scheme involving facilitators and co-conspirators that our investigators worked diligently to dismantle,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “Dr. Thomas Hobbs was the lead facilitator, and this sentence now holds him accountable for criminal acts that undermined the integrity of the Social Security disability insurance program. I am extremely appreciative of the tremendous work that our investigators and law enforcement partners contributed to the success of this investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in holding Dr. Hobbs and his fellow conspirators accountable for facilitating this fraud.”
Hobbs charged patients between $2,000 and $8,600 to prepare disability forms and coach them on how to lie to the Social Security Administration and insurers about their ability to perform basic daily tasks such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, remembering and taking care of their personal needs. Hobbs submitted fraudulent medical reports, submitted fraudulent claims for reimbursement to health care benefit programs for services that were either not provided, medically unnecessary or provided by unqualified persons and used a fictitious medical license number to buttress his medical determinations and further support patients’ disability claims.
Hobbs, is co-owner of Power-Med Inc., a chiropractic clinic in Arnold, Missouri. He also admitted in his plea agreement that while falsely claiming to have a medical license, between 2011 and 2019, he purchased and dispensed prescription medications, administered injections and dispensed medications intravenously to patients. Hobbs knew he was not permitted to administer injections because the Missouri Board of Chiropractic Examiners placed him on probation for five years for fraudulently billing insurance companies for unlawfully administering injections.
Hobbs pleaded guilty in January in U.S. District Court to a conspiracy charge. Four of his co-defendants, including his wife and fellow chiropractor, Vivian Carbone-Hobbs, went to trial and were found guilty. Carbone-Hobbs is scheduled to be sentenced next month. All of the patients involved in the scheme were ordered to repay the money that they’d fraudulently obtained.
The cases were investigated by the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy Berry, Dorothy McMurtry Diane Klocke and Gwendolyn Carroll are prosecuting the case.
Anyone who suspects fraud involving the Disability Insurance Benefit Program is asked to contact the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General Hotline at: 1-800-269-0271 or https://oig.ssa.gov/report/
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