Two onetime Twin Cities chiropractors have been sentenced in federal court to years in prison for cheating auto insurance companies out of millions of dollars.
Preston E. Forthun, 40, of Bloomington, received a five-year prison term this week, and Adam J. Burke, 34, of Minneapolis, received a 7 ½-year prison term. Both were convicted last year in separate jury trials in Minneapolis.
“Mr. Forthun and Mr. Burke are two medical professionals who chose to cater to their own greed above their patients’ chiropractic care. Today, they are faced with the consequences of their criminal actions,” U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said in a statement announcing the sentences.
Both men also have restitution bills to pay. The total is $1,553,500 for Forthun and $991,530 for Burke.
Burke’s practice was in Edina, while Forthun practiced in two Lake Street locations in Minneapolis. Both have lost their licenses to practice in Minnesota.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the trial proceedings proved the chiropractors hired patient recruiters, known as “runners,” to solicit automobile crash victims to attend treatments at their clinics.
They paid the runners for each patient they recruited, and the runners in turn typically paid the patients to induce them to attend treatments at the clinic. However, they withheld kickback payments to the runners until after the patients had attended a certain number of treatment sessions, often in the dozens.
“Thus, the kickback payments were intended to ensure that patients came for treatments at the defendants’ clinics because of the payments, as opposed to the necessity and reasonableness of the treatments,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. As a result, the two billed insurance companies millions of dollars.
Forthun’s attorney argued in a court filing for probation and no prison time, presenting letters of support from patients and family members and noting that he was taking instruction to improve himself as a care provider.
Legal counsel for Burke did not argue in its court filing for a specific sentence but sought mercy based on the defendant taking responsibility for the scheme, having lost his license to practice and speaking to a chiropractic school about how greed got the best of him.