He surrendered his license in April 2017
The Minnesota Commerce Department announced Wednesday that a Thief River Falls chiropractor has been indicted in federal court on six counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft in connection with an insurance fraud scheme that he orchestrated.
Steven Richard Wiseth, 35, made his initial appearance Wednesday before Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer in U.S. District Court in Saint Paul.
The case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Wiseth was a Doctor of Chiropractic and owner of Health Quest Family Chiropractic in Thief River Falls. As alleged in the indictment, from approximately March 2013 through April 2015, he orchestrated a scheme to defraud health insurers by submitting and causing the submission of false and fraudulent claims for chiropractic services.
As alleged in the indictment, over the course of two years, Wiseth billed the insurance companies more than $3.1 million, including bills for hundreds of treatments that were not provided or were overbilled, and the insurance companies paid Wiseth and Health Quest more than $1.1 million.
As alleged in the indictment, Wiseth’s scheme depended on maximizing patient volume at Health Quest. He held promotional events where he gave away free food and drink, prizes and gift certificates to induce current and prospective patients to visit Health Quest.
After the promotional events, Wiseth billed insurance companies for providing chiropractic services to substantial numbers of individuals who attended the events, including billing for services that were not provided. In some cases, Wiseth used the personal and insurance information of attendees to bill their insurance companies for services that were not provided, without the attendees’ knowledge.
For example, on February 13, 2014, he held a promotional event at Health Quest that he referred to as “ValenSpine’s Day.” Wiseth submitted bills to insurance companies representing that he had treated approximately 219 patients on that day, purporting to have provided approximately 641 services.
As alleged in the indictment, Wiseth also submitted false bills for services by misrepresenting the services that were actually provided to patients. For example, he routinely submitted false bills for treatment with a “wobble chair,” which is a device intended to develop core strength. Wiseth falsely represented to insurers that the services were performed for at least eight minutes under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional when, in fact, Wiseth merely stocked his clinic’s waiting rooms with wobble chairs so that patients would sit in them while waiting for their appointments.
In April 2017, Wiseth voluntarily surrendered his Minnesota chiropractic license.