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Appeal Addresses Suppression of Evidence In Health Care Fraud Prosecution

By FindLaw Staff on May 04, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Lazar, No. 08-5653, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of a motion to suppress evidence seized from two medical offices, in a prosecution of the defendant-pediatric doctor for health care fraud and related crimes. 

First, the court held that the magistrate judge erred in concluding that  an attachment did not suffice to incorporate a patient list into the affidavit and warrants as a lack of formal incorporation by reference into the warrants does not justify a finding of facial insufficiency.  Next, the court vacated the district court's suppression of defendant's patient files and remanded with instructions to determine which list, if any, came before the issuing Magistrate judge, and to suppress only those patient files seized beyond the scope of such list as required under Groh v. Ramirez.

The court held that with respect to the non-patient file evidence, suppression was proper and rejected government's alternative theory of inevitable discovery.  Finally, the district court's finding that the warrants lacked probable cause to believe that the patients' medical records would be found in the defendant's medical offices is reversed as probable cause supported the warrants.     

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