Tony Ortega broke the story today of Miami Scientologist and chiropractor Dr. Dennis Nobbe being charged with serious financial felonies. Nobbe was arrested for, among other charges, the fraudulent taking of PPP monies and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
A big part of the story here is the disjunct between Scientology’s PR fantasy about Dr. Nobbe’s prosperity versus the criminal reality. The Church of Scientology allowed Dennis Nobbe to present “Personal Prosperity Seminars” when it knew, based upon sec checks, that he was involved in financial crimes.
THE SCIENTOLOGY FANTASY:
THE REALITY BEHIND DR. NOBBE’S “SCIENTOLOGY PROSPERITY” IS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY:
No surprise here: Yet another Scientologist involved in financial crimes. Worse, Nobbe is a repeat offender. This recidivist was terminated from the CareCredit program in 2010 due to his scammy financial behavior. This is why Nobbe turned to using proxies to effectuate the healthcare fraud and money laundering schemes for which he now stands charged. Nobbe even took COVID-19 money. He has no shame.
UPDATE: Dr. Dennis Nobbe died of a sudden heart attack on or about September 16, 2020 after being informed by his attorney that his bail was being revoked for flagrant violations of his bail — which included attempts to tamper with a witness against him. Tony Ortega’s story on Nobbe’s death.
The Criminal complaint against Nobbe:
The probability of Nobbe being convicted is exceptionally high: The FBI secretly recorded phone calls he made to his fellow conspirators who cooperated with the FBI. If convicted, the judge will take note of Nobbe’s prior conduct and conclude that he learned the nothing and showed no contrition or change in behavior.
Dennis Nobbe appears to be headed to prison as are his fellow Scientologist chiropractors Jeff and Jay Spina. The Spina brothers plead guilty to all charges in the $80 million Medicare fraud they perpetrated against US taxpayers. The Spina brothers are seen below holding a Scientology award:
The US Department of Justice Press Release on Dennis Nobbe:Dennis.Nobbe.Sec
The Criminal Complaint. US v. Dennis Nobbe:470814154-US-v-Dennis-Nobbe-Complaint (1)
Categories: The Scientology Money Project
I read the complaint in detail. What struck me is just how stupid Nobbe and his co-conspirators were. It was absolutely inevitable that they would get caught. Why?
First, “Physician 1” who laundered money was a neurologist. Neurologists diagnose nerve diseases. They don’t treat stuff. Insurance companies (including Medicare) have fraud detection algorithms that look at diagnoses (as expressed in the IDC-10 code number for that diagnosis) and look at treatments performed (as expressed by the CPT number for that treatment procedure). They use simple AI algorithms to look for physicians whose patterns of diagnosis and treatment are far outside the statistical norms for other similar physicians in their area. So, for example, a neurologist diagnoses a significant portion of his patients with back pain, a condition they normally don’t diagnose, that would trigger a red flag. And if they performed spinal adjustment on those patients, a procedure they would never normally do (even if they’re actually trained in it for some reason), that would be another red flag. The more red flags get thrown up, the faster the investigators get called in.
Second, Nobbe broke a cardinal rule about committing fraud: keeping your customers happy prolongs the life of your scheme. Bernie Madoff happily gave money from his Ponzi scheme to people who needed it for medical bills, etc. Had he stonewalled people seeking redemptions, they would have complained immediately to the SEC and he would have been shut down much faster. But by promptly paying redemption, nobody complained.
Similarly, there are two parts to the alleged criminal behavior that Nobbe engaged in. First, use of a cutout to be able to get money from a lender that had previously barred him from doing business with them. Second, then get the customer to pay up front for services not yet rendered, in line with the typical WISE strategy that always leads to business collapse when you have to deliver services and no longer have the money to pay for the expenses of doing so. He got greedy and when he pissed off the customers who got hefty credit card bills, they complained to the credit card company, who was immediately on the alert. And so the scheme unraveled. Even though it was 2-3 years from the time in the complaint that the scheme started until Nobbe’s arrest, I’d have to guess that they were on to him probably within the first six months. They were just waiting and gathering evidence — federal investigations often take far longer than you’d expect, but that is part of why so few federal defendants win at trial; the evidence is often pretty airtight, especially for financial crimes.
With the Spina brothers’ fraud (the other recent Scientology chiropractic criminal case), which netted them almost $80 million, the question was why it took the government so long to catch them. But with Nobbe, it’s not at all surprising that they bagged him. And the lack of sophistication of the fraud means he will get the full brunt of the law coming to bear — there’s very little risk that the governmet will lose at trial.
Hello Dear John, You are the Best at explaining complicated intertwined financial schemes with facts, not emotions,as I tend to do. Thank you. So Good to See You ! 💛
Well, by now the gov’t will probably add “WISE affiliation” to their AI fraud detection algorithm. What a Nobbe!