Former Stimwave CEO Found Guilty of Selling Fake Pain Device

Laura Perryman, the former CEO of Stimwave Technologies, has been convicted by a jury of healthcare fraud and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud. The trial lasted 11 days and ended in a unanimous verdict on Wednesday, sending shockwaves throughout the medical device industry. Perryman’s fraudulent activities  related to the creation and sale of a non-functional component for an implantable neurostimulation device aimed at alleviating chronic pain.

Stimwave Technologies manufactured and distributed the StimQ PNS System. This $16,000 neurostimulator device targeted peripheral nerves outside the spinal cord. Complications arose when physicians encountered difficulties implanting the receiver component, known as the pink stylet. In response, Stimwave introduced a smaller alternative – the white stylet – composed entirely of plastic and devoid of any conductivity. Despite its non-functional nature, Perryman used a deceptive marketing strategy, overseeing training sessions that misrepresented the white stylet as a viable receiver component.

Perryman’s fraudulent scheme impacted both patients and investors. By falsely portraying the white stylet as functional, Perryman aimed to inflate billings and deceive Medicare and private insurers. These actions took place from approximately 2017 to 2020, and ultimately led to Stimwave’s downfall. Following Perryman’s arrest in March 2023 and her subsequent resignation as CEO in November 2019, the company recalled the device and filed for bankruptcy, leaving patients who had received the faulty implants dealing with potential health risks and uncertain futures. The trust and confidence of physicians in the medical device industry were severely undermined, as they relied on Stimwave’s assurances regarding the efficacy of the device and its components. Beyond the medical community, investors were left facing severe financial losses, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s allegations of Perryman’s fraudulent activities further adding to the damage.

Perryman’s conviction outlines the severity of healthcare fraud and its detrimental effects on both patients and the integrity of the medical device industry. Her actions compromised patient safety and damaged trust among healthcare professionals. The jury’s decision serves as a warning against deceptive practices within the healthcare industry and emphasizes the importance of strict regulations and oversight to safeguard patient well-being and maintain ethical standards. The case has put a focus on the need for transparency and accountability in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of medical devices, particularly those intended for implantation and therapeutic use. Perryman’s manipulation of training sessions to misrepresent the white stylet as a viable receiver component highlights the vulnerability of healthcare professionals to fraudulent schemes and shows the importance of in-depth educational programs and ongoing training to detect and prevent such misconduct.

As the legal battle concludes with Perryman’s conviction, the aftermath of her fraudulent activities will have a lasting effect on the medical device industry. The case highlights the need for transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct to ensure the delivery of safe and effective healthcare solutions. While Perryman faces the prospect of prison time, the repercussions of her actions will serve as a cautionary tale for those tempted to engage in fraudulent practices within the healthcare industry.