Preventing fraud in Chiropractic today is more important than it ever has been. In this webinar you will gain first-hand knowledge from a former Chiropractor, Timothy Guthman, convicted by the United States of health care fraud, December 12, 2019. Learn from his mistakes to prevent a civil lawsuit or even an investigation by the FBI. You will find out how insurance company's brought his actions to the FBI and the consequences he has endured. Bullet-proof your office today from any allegations of fraud. This one hour webinar will be an ounce of prevention that will deliver a pound of cure.
Timothy W. Guthman is a husband, father of three, volunteer, Christ follower, business owner and convicted felon. Timothy enjoys sailing, scuba diving, spear fishing, spending time with his family, and volunteering. Timothy was born and raised in Wausau, Wisconsin and has resided with his family in Inver Grove Heights, MN since 2002.
In 1998, Timothy Guthman earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, a Bachelor's of science degree, and an Acupuncture Degree. Immediately following graduation, Timothy was licensed to practice Chiropractic and Acupuncture in the state of Minnesota. Timothy opened the doors to his own private practice, called Inver Family Chiropractic, located in Inver Grove Heights, a week after graduation. Timothy worked very hard to build a patient base from scratch. By the end of 1999, his Chiropractic office was profitable, comprised of families consisting of cash and private payers.
In 2000, Timothy had to move into a larger office because he grew out of his initial office. Timothy’s private practice continued to grow over the years to a $420,000 net income practice comprised of two practitioners and four employees. Then in 2008, the economy crashed and he decided to focus more on treating patients injured in car accidents. Automobile insurance was the only insurance that paid 100% of Chiropractic patient’s bills. This seemed to be a wise business move since a lot of Chiropractic patients could not afford treatment or were unemployed without health insurance due to the decelerating economy. Timothy advertised on all platforms and then learned that many of his colleagues would pay a referral fee or commission to their marketing employees. This form of marketing became very popular as it assured the practitioner a predictable return of their investment.
In 2011, the Chiropractic board passed state legislation, making paying a referral fee, illegal. Timothy was aware of this law, however overlooked it and decided to take his chances because so many other practitioners continued to advertise this way. Timothy’s office grew and in 2012 he opened a second Chiropractic clinic in Minneapolis. At the end of 2012 the two offices together reached a net income of $715,000.00 with multiple providers and employees.
Over the next couple of years, the auto insurance companies pushed back with denying claims and making partial payments. Furthermore, Farmers insurance started interviewing Timothy’s patients and investigated him from 2012 to 2014. The return on his advertising dollars rapidly decreased and he closed the doors to his Minneapolis office in July of 2014.
In 2014, he started attending River Valley Church in Eagan, MN. Timothy became involved volunteering at River Valley and decided to go on a Missions trip with his son to Haiti. Timothy’s life was transformed as a result of this Mission trip. In Haiti, he saw devastation in so many ways which was so far from the wealthy lifestyle he was a custom to living. Timothy witnessed a high degree of poverty, corruption, chaos, and lack of spiritual direction in Haiti. The Mission trip made him realize he needed to change who he was. Timothy was living a life of selfishness, consumption, and greed.
After coming back from Haiti at the end of 2014, he decided to shift his practice away from paying for referrals for patients in auto accidents. Timothy always knew this was wrong but Haiti gave him the conviction to make this change. Timothy was convicted personally, spiritually, to give, serve others, and do what is right. He returned to Haiti in the beginning of 2015. The second trip to Haiti was even better than the first. Timothy was further transformed into a better person, serving, giving, and thinking less about money.
December 15, 2015, Timothy received a call from a FBI Agent stating that his Chiropractic office of 17 years was being raided by nine federal agents for health care fraud. He told the agent that they must have the wrong office and this must be a mistake. The agent assured him that they were in the right place. Timothy immediately retained an attorney and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars convincing the United States Attorney's office that he was innocent of health care fraud. The Assistant US Attorney informed Timothy they would charge him for one count of health care fraud and one count of mail fraud. They offered him a plea deal that would consist of guidelines to the Judge of 18-24 months in prison, $147,000 forfeiture order and an additional $147,000 in restitution to the victims (insurance companies).
In 2016, Farmers insurance filed a civil lawsuit of fraud and other claims consisting of one million dollars against his practices and himself personally. In March of 2017, Timothy Guthman was indicted for 1 count of health care fraud and one count of mail fraud. Shortly after this, the prosecution made a motion of conflict of interest that would force a termination to the relationship that he had with his attorney. The Judge agreed with the motion and ordered him to find a new attorney in the middle of 2017. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, Timothy had to go and seek a new attorney and spend more money. His new attorney was more forthright and convinced him to take the plea deal. In November 2017, Timothy Guthman pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. He salvaged what he could of what was left of his Chiropractic office of 18 years and sold it for 1/10th of what it would have been worth 5 years prior.
Timothy had to figure out what he was going to do financially to replace the income that supported his family for 18 years. Shortly after he sold his office, he had a charter sail boat that was struggling to pay for its expenses in Key West, Florida. Timothy decided to leave the charter company that he had his boat with and take over the management and advertising himself. In one year he was able to take that boats income from a $60,000 annual loss to $100,000 annual net income (after all the boats expenses were paid). In 2017 Timothy decided to open a new company called Blue Ocean Yacht Charters based out of Key West, Florida. He decided to add more boats, manage, and advertise them for sailing charters.
In 2017, the Senior US district Judge on the Farmers Insurance civil suit, ruled that paying for referrals on its own is not fraud if the services were medically necessary. The suit remained open and was settled about a year later for $15,000 with cooperation. Shortly after settling with Farmers, Timothy met with Farmer's Attorney that sued him as part of his cooperation. Timothy thanked him sincerely for his efforts in exposing his wrong doings. If it wasn't for the Farmers Insurance attorney’s efforts Timothy may have continued down a path of greed and self-fulfillment.
The Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners revoked Timothy Guthman’s Chiropractic license in 2018 and no longer could he perform a Chiropractic adjustment that helped so many people throughout his career. His sentencing day happened on December 10, 2019, four years after the FBI raided his office. For four years he struggled with the stress of the unknown of his future that all came down to one day. Prior to sentencing, Timothy’s attorney had worked out a deal with the prosecution that both parties would ask the judge for one year in prison. His attorney told Timothy that there was a 95% chance the judge would go along with this deal and rule 12 months of prison. His attorney advocated that this was a great deal and convinced Timothy to agree, since his guidelines were 18-24 months in prison. On December 10, 2019 the Senior US District Judge, Michael Davis sentenced Timothy Guthman to 90 days in a halfway house, 6 months of house arrest, 200 hours of community service to mostly be comprised of speaking engagements, and two years of probation. This was a miracle.
To this day, Timothy Guthman owns and manages, Blue Ocean Yacht Charters, which continues to profit and grow. Through all the stress of the unknowns of Timothy Guthman’s criminal prosecution, with the support of his amazing wife, God gave him the ability to start a new business, blessing him with a new career, and an opportunity to share his story with others.
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