Firm Wins Complete Acquittal in $1.4 Billion Healthcare Fraud Case

News / April 28, 2023

Partner Brian Rafferty led a BakerHostetler healthcare litigation team to secure the full and permanent acquittal of a client in one of the biggest healthcare fraud cases ever investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In United States v. Perez et al. (Rural Hospitals), the DOJ claimed that Florida attorney Aaron Durall and nine others devised an elaborate scheme to bill insurers artificially high rates for urine and blood tests through rural hospitals in three Southern states. Prosecutors said the tests were actually performed at independent labs, which receive lower rates of reimbursement than rural hospitals do.

Durall was accused of making $184 million from the alleged fraud. As the lead defendant, he could have faced decades in prison if convicted. He was initially tried along with several co-defendants in May and June 2022; the trial resulted in a hung jury.

The retrial began Feb. 21. It involved dozens of witnesses and testimony from six cooperating defendants and two experts. Rafferty put on a two-day defense that included testimony from a biller, multiple fact witnesses, a summary witness and Durall, who testified in his own defense. On March 21 (after two days of deliberations and an initial deadlock), the jury found Durall and his co-defendants not guilty on all counts.

The DOJ does not have the option to appeal.

“This was a huge victory for the defense and a stunning rebuke of the government’s case,” Rafferty says.

Partner Brian McEvoy; Counsel William Ezzell; Associates Grace Zoller, Ryan Mayo and Phillip Kim; Paralegal Stacy Delk; and Legal Secretary Diedra Joyner helped secure this major win.