Louisiana psychiatrist convicted on Medicare fraud charges

On Behalf of Sanchez Burke, LLC

A 56-year-old Baton Rouge psychiatrist was convicted of Medicare fraud Aug. 25 and will be spending seven years in prison. He has also been ordered to pay $43.5 million in restitution and forfeit all proceeds that were generated as a result of his fraudulent scheme that totaled more than $258 million. According to a Department of Justice news release, the psychiatrist had been admitting mentally ill patients for inappropriate programs, after which he would re-certify their appropriateness, allowing him to continue billing Medicare.

Court documents show that the psychiatrist conspired with others to falsify records to make it appear that patients were treated on dates where no services were actually rendered. The psychiatrist pleaded guilty to fraud charges in May following a 3-year investigation that resulted in the conviction of 17 employees, administrators and owners of the three mental health centers where the alleged fraudulent activities took place.

According to reports, the companies billed Medicare a total of more than $258 million in claims over a seven year period, of which Medicare paid out more than $43 million. The psychiatrist served as medical director at one of the mental health centers and co-owned the other two.

Fraud is a serious charge, and the penalties for those who are convicted may be severe. However, in order to be convicted of a serious crime in Louisiana, the prosecution must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Many people accused of a serious crime to seek representation as soon as charges have been filed. Anyone finding themselves in similar circumstances may want to seek out the help of an attorney with experience in criminal law to help them examine the evidence and begin building a credible defense.

Source: NOLA.com, “Baton Rouge psychiatrist sentenced to 7 years in prison for role in $258 million Medicare scheme”, Quincy Hodges, August 25, 2014

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