Skilling and the Pursuit of Health Care Fraud
30 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2011 Last revised: 10 Mar 2012
Date Written: August 15, 2011
In the summer of 2010, the Supreme Court used the case of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling to announce significant limits on the reach of the intangible rights/honest services theory of mail and wire fraud. In rejecting Skilling’s vagueness challenge to the honest services wire fraud theory underlying his conspiracy conviction, the Court read the statute in a very narrow way that focuses such prosecutions squarely on bribery and kickbacks - activities that turn out to have particular salience in health care. As a result, while Skilling is widely considered to have narrowed the scope of honest services fraud overall, it may turn out to have the paradoxical effect of inviting additional prosecutions of physicians and others in the health care industry.
Keywords: Health care fraud, honest services, intangible rights, mail fraud, wire fraud
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