The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York recently announced the sentencing of a physician convicted for healthcare fraud. The government sentenced the physician to 18 months imprisonment, three years of supervised release and the payment of $103,843 in ill-gotten gains as well as $2,669,231 in restitution.
Building a case: The government gathers evidence
The government accused the physician of fraudulently posing as an owner of a medical clinic. New York state law requires medical professionals own and operate medical clinics. The government stated this physician was not the actual owner, but instead a figurehead while another, non-medical professional acted as the owner. The government accused the doctor of falsely signing documents to establish his ownership with banks, Medicare and Medicaid.
In addition to falsely standing as an owner of this clinic, the government also accused the physician of fraudulently signing off on medical charts for patients he had not examined and prescribing medically unnecessary prescriptions, tests and supplies.
Lesson for physicians accused of healthcare fraud: Take the threat seriously
A U.S. Attorney stated in a news release that this sentence is designed to “send a strong message that those who cheat Medicare and Medicaid, including physicians and other health care providers who abuse their positions of trust, will be held accountable and will face serious penalties.”
The government takes these allegations very seriously and will pursue accusations with a thorough investigation. If possible, they will find evidence to build a case and push for a conviction. As such, anyone that is the subject of this type of investigation is wise to take proactive action to defend themselves. An attorney experienced in these cases can help.