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U.S. Supreme Court won't hear appeal of fraud conviction of WellCare Health Plans ex-CEO Todd Farha

Todd Farha, shown in 2006 when he was chairman and CEO of Tampa's WellCare Health Plans. He was convicted of fraud in 2013 and since 2016 is serving a three-year sentence at a minimum security federal prison in Alabama. [
KEN HELLE | Times]
Todd Farha, shown in 2006 when he was chairman and CEO of Tampa's WellCare Health Plans. He was convicted of fraud in 2013 and since 2016 is serving a three-year sentence at a minimum security federal prison in Alabama. [ KEN HELLE | Times]
Published Apr. 25, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by Tampa's former WellCare Health Plans CEO Todd Farha of his 2013 fraud conviction for his role in a scheme to cheat the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.

As reported by Reuters, Farha asked the Supreme Court to review the case, arguing he did not know the submitted reports in the scheme were false, and that the trial judge mistakenly allowed the jury to convict him on a standard of "deliberate indifference" to the truth.

The government asked the court to reject that claim. Last summer, Farha began serving a three-year sentence at a minimum security federal prison in Alabama after the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction. Farha had asked the justices to overturn his conviction, contesting the trial judge's handling of his case.

Farha and other executives of managed health insurer WellCare were indicted in 2011. A federal jury in Tampa found them guilty of filing expense reports to Florida's state health care administration overstating the amount WellCare subsidiaries spent on mental health services for Medicaid patients. The scheme inflated company profits and resulting rewards for the executives.

WellCare has paid out more than $200 million in settlements for fraud with government regulators and whistleblowers since 2009, according to the Department of Justice.

In addition, Farha and former WellCare chief financial officer Paul L. Behrens this week each entered into settlement agreements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to pay a combined $26 million in restitution and civil payments. By May 1, Farha must pay $12.5 million to the SEC and $7.5 million to WellCare. Behrens will have to pay $4.5 million to the SEC and $1.5 million to WellCare. The monetary penalties are in addition to the jail sentences handed down to the duo — Farha for a three-year term and Behrens for two years.