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SD Gets Share of Sanford Medicare-and-More Fraud Settlement

In October 2019, Sanford Health agreed to pay the federal government $20,250,000 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged Sanford had defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and the VA by pushing Dr. William Asfora’s shady spine screws. It took distracted and deadly Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg 13 months to get South Dakota’s share of that settlement, $329,412.21.

Last month the Department of Justice shook down Medtronic USA for another $8.1 million to settle that Minneapolis-based company’s involvement in a kickback scheme in which they held social events at Carnaval Brazilian Grill, which Asfora owns, to get him to use their gear:

The settlement announced today resolves allegations that Medtronic agreed to the requests of South Dakota neurosurgeon, Wilson Asfora, M.D., to pay for social events at Carnaval Brazilian Grill, a restaurant Medtronic knew Asfora owned, including scores of expensive meals. Medtronic allegedly made the payments to benefit Asfora and induce him to use Medtronic’s SynchroMed II intrathecal infusion pumps, which are implantable devices used to deliver medication to patients. The United States alleged that Medtronic’s sponsored events at Asfora’s restaurant were social gatherings for which Asfora selected and invited his social acquaintances, business partners, favored colleagues, and potential and existing referral sources, while Medtronic paid for their meals and drinks. Over a nine-year period, Medtronic allegedly paid for more than one hundred events at Asfora’s restaurant [Department of Justice, press release, 2020.10.29].

Neither Sanford nor Medtronic admits any liability, although Medtronic did fire two employees and scold twelve others “involved in the alleged misconduct.” (Hmmm… were they actually involved in misconduct that was alleged, or were they alleged to have been involved in misconduct?)

Asfora is still fighting the feds and Sanford in court.


  1. Mark Anderson 2020-11-28 13:19

    Hey , whoever is responsible from Sandford say Kelby Krabbenhoft, just needs to look at our Senator Rick Scott. He ran Columbia/HCA when they were fined 1.7 billion dollars for fraud of those poor seniors, with 14 felonies. Scott pled the fifth 75 or so times and got away scott free(sorry). He then bought our governorship and is now our senator. Crime pays everywhere if you are Republican.

  2. grudznick 2020-11-28 13:40

    or a Kennedy.

  3. Fast Eddy 2020-11-28 14:11

    So where did the money go? Was it to repay the state? How much, if any, was diverted for ‘other uses’? Is there an accounting? I just assume that any dollars coming into the state from any legal settlement eventually ends up in a Republican’s pockets. They certainly don’t use it to improve the lives of the citizens.

  4. Mark Anderson 2020-11-28 16:55

    Oh grudsznick, I’m shaking in my sneakers.

  5. mike from iowa 2020-11-28 17:03

    Accounting in South Dakota, Fast Eddy? Surely you jest. Accounting (oversight) is a taboo word, similar to Democrat, which are never to be uttered by wingnuts.

  6. Dc 2020-11-28 20:14

    BTW, where is our Infamous AG! Silent And/or lack of transparency??

  7. grudznick 2020-11-28 20:33

    Mr. Dc, most people assume Mr. Ravnsborg is lying low, while still living high on the hog. grudznick thinks, since you asked, that Mr. Ravnsborg is having his meals delivered every night by employees and his shopping done at the local Walmart by the state shopping crew and these groceries are left in a locked refrigerator that opens to the alley for the delivery people, and to the inner workings of Mr. Ravnsborg’s lair on his side of things. It is from this lair where his pea brain fails to come up with his next steps. He will have to resign, in disgrace, or Mr. Haugaard his puppet master will have to serve him up in the next legislatures.

    You did ask, sir, and I thank you for that.

  8. leslie 2020-11-29 02:24

    Read Ravnsborg’s full statement on Twitter of his intention to handle 538 electors in presidential election.

    Jan 17
    @SDAttorneyGen helped assemble a bi-partisan coalition of 21 state attorneys general to take the argument against faithless electors to the Supreme Court of the United States.

    @RepublicanAGs [RAGA] (note past RAGA chair Pam Bondy is Gulianni’s cohort in the legal strategy approaching 50 losses in Republican Trumpist attempts to turnover the election.)

  9. Jenny 2020-11-30 13:20

    Noem said the Ravnsborg investigation was basically all done a month ago. Well, what’s the hold up? It would be safe to assume that the State and Ravnsborg are delaying as long as possible as this will favor the defendant (Ravnsborg). Oldest tactic in the judicial playbook.

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