Law Firm Referred Over 800 Clients to a Pharmacy in Exchange for Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Payments
In a consent judgment filed with the Suffolk Superior Court, the law firm, Keches Law Group, P.C. has agreed to pay $300,000 as part of a settlement with the Attorney General of Massachusetts’ office in response to claims that it participated in an illegal workers’ compensation kickback scheme. The consent judgment remains subject to final court approval.
“Law firms shouldn’t break the law, and they certainly shouldn’t profit off their clients’ injuries through illegal kickbacks,” AG Healey said. “Today’s settlement resolves our lawsuit against Keches Law Group and directs much-needed funds to our state.”
According to AG’s office, the personal injury law firm accepted tens of thousands of dollars in “illegal kickbacks from a pharmacy in exchange for referring hundreds of its injured clients.” As part of the consent judgment, Keches Law Group, P.C. has admitted referring approximately 800 clients to Injured Workers Pharmacy (IWP) where prescriptions were filled in exchanged for payments totaling nearly $90,000.
As outlined in the AG’s complaint, the AG alleged that Keches entered into two agreements with IWP: one in which IWP paid for Keches’ social events – including an X1 racing event, a yacht outing, and a nearly $24,000 holiday luncheon – in exchange for referrals.
The judgment resolved the September 2020 lawsuit filed by AG Healey and a subsequent court order denying Keches’ summary judgment bid against the Commonwealth. In that decision the court concluded that “at trial, a reasonable fact-finder could find that Keches engaged in an unfair trade practice that violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and thereby violated [the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act].”
The initial investigation into Keches commenced in connection with an investigation into IWP’s dispensing practices. That investigation ultimately resulted in an an $11 million consent judgment over the pharmacy’s violation of the state’s consumer protection law in its failure “…to implement adequate safeguards against unlawful and dangerous controlled substance dispensing and by paying kickbacks for new patient referrals.”
Keches is now required to obtain informed consent of its clients first
Pursuant to the consent judgment terms, Keches will be required to obtain its clients’ informed consent in writing before making any future referrals in exchange for monetary compensation. In addition to the informed consent requirement, the law firm must also pay $300,000 – or three times the amount of illegal kickbacks it accepted under the illegal kickback scheme it created. The AG’s office has designated $100,000 to the Commonwealth’s Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund with the remaining $200,000 deposited into the Commonwealth’s General Fund for penalties, fees, and costs.
This matter was handled by Senior Enforcement Counsel Gillian Feiner, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Lashof-Sullivan and Paralegal Philipp Nowak of the AG’s Health Care and Fair Competition Bureau, with assistance from Assistant Attorney General David Kim, Deputy General Counsel Paula McManus, and Investigator Marlee Greer of the AG’s Civil Investigations Division.