A San Fernando Valley chiropractor, who was the second highest Medicare biller in California for chiropractic services, pled guilty to healthcare fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1347. Between 2005 and 2012, the owner of Sylmar Physician Medical Group, Inc. – a storefront chiropractic clinic located in a strip mall – defrauded Medicare by billing for patients he never treated.
The eleven count indictment alleges that the chiropractor submitted over $1.7 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and was paid a little over $1 million on these claims. As part of his guilty plea, he admitted that, in an effort to conceal his fraud from Medicare auditors, he staged an early-morning carjacking outside his office and falsely reported to the Los Angeles Police Department that his patient files had been stolen.
“Those persons who seek to bilk the Medicare Program impact both our health care delivery system and the American consumer,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Here, the defendant not only tried to bilk the system to the tune of more than $1.7 million, he also had the audacity to try and conceal his criminal activity by filing a bogus police report with the LAPD.”
“Health care fraud in and of itself is a serious offense. Not content to stop there, however, the chiropractor sought to conceal that crime by committing yet another -- filing a false police report,” said Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health of Human Services. “Those intent on breaking these laws should know that through the work of our special agents and auditors, OIG remains committed to seeking justice.”
The chiropractor faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. United States District Judge Manuel L. Real is scheduled to sentence defendant on January 14, 2014.
See the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California’s Announcement
See also Medical Law Perspectives, April 2013 Report: Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Practitioner Liability