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What happens after the feds convict a doctor of fraud?

That was the question posed by a reporter with The Dallas Morning News. What happens after a medical professional, who spent over a decade of their life training to be a physician and serve patients, is convicted of defrauding the government for their own financial gain?

To answer this question, the investigative reporter dug into the life of Dr. Jacques Roy. The feds convicted Dr. Roy in 2017 of over $373 million in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The prosecution built a case to show the physician used fake patients to bill these programs for services they never received.

What triggered the reporter?

The reporter noted that the physician showed up on various online platforms for health care services, one of which noted he was accepting patients. The reporter contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who noted the physician was still in federal prison, currently scheduled for release in 2041.

The reporter’s takeaway: online platforms are not often updated. Instead, patients are wise to review the American Medical Association’s (AMA) page or state medical board’s website for more accurate information.

What about other physicians — is there a future after conviction?

Our society is one that has a pretty clear crime and punishment structure. But after we serve our time, we complete our punishment, can we move on with our lives?

The AMA’s Journal of Ethics notes that when it comes to the medical profession, the medical board in most states can suspend or revoke a practitioner’s medical license for crimes of moral turpitude. These crimes generally require a level of “baseness, vileness, or the depravity contrary to accepted and customary rule of right and duty between human beings.” Essentially, those that result in a loss of the ability to trust the individual convicted of that crime.

So what does this mean for physicians facing allegations of fraud? The road ahead is difficult, which makes it all the more important to take allegations of wrongdoing seriously. Do not brush them off and consider a plea deal with the hopes of moving on. Get legal counsel to review the situation and discuss your options, as well as the implications of any potential plea deal.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication