The Fruits of Fraud

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The term ”fruits of labor” refers to the results of hard work that yields benefits. For example, farmers toil long hours by tilling the soil, planting seeds, watering their plants and preventing pestilence from overtaking their crops. Their hard work and effort usually pays off in a bountiful harvest benefitting themselves and others through the sale of their produce. On the other hand, fraudsters generally reap the ”fruits of fraud” by taking from others only to selfishly benefit themselves. An article published by the Alaska Dispatch News tells the story of an Anchorage psychiatrist who bilked Medicaid of more than $600,000 and then spent the illegally-gained money on the fruits of his fraud – gambling, women, drugs and vacations.

The psychiatrist, who specialized in treating children and adolescents with autism and mental health issues, allegedly enlisted the help of his office manager to fraudulently submit more than $1 million in false claims to Medicare over four years. (The article states that the doctor blamed the office manager for the fraudulent claims stating that he should have completed a background check before hiring the man who was also a felon. Conversely, the office manager claimed he learned of the embezzlement following an audit and admitted to the fraud after he realized what had happened, then recorded a conversation where the doctor admitted to the fraud during the investigation.)

During the investigation, the doctor continued to treat patients with a monitor strapped to his ankle for 15 months. (As a parent of one of his patients, I believe I would have sought treatment for my child elsewhere.)

The fraudster pleaded guilty to Medicaid Assistance fraud. In order to send the right message to others who might be contemplating similar crimes, the judge sentenced the psychiatrist to seven years in jail with three-and-a-half years suspended plus 10 years probation. He was ordered to pay $605,000 in restitution. (The state was nice enough to drop 23 other charges related to Medicaid fraud, numerous drug charges related to allegations that he had a prescription drug dependency and prescribed opiate prescriptions to friends.)

In addition to being barred from billing Medicaid for at least five years, the doctor is waiting to hear about the future of his medical license. While it was indicated that the psychiatrist wanted to restore his image within the community, it might be a difficult task now that he has been convicted of fraud. Kudos goes to the judge for maintaining the integrity of the Medicaid program by making this fraudster pay for the fruits of his fraudulent labor.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Anchorage Doctor Sentenced to Prison in Medicaid Fraud Case,” written by Jerzy Shedlock and published by Alaska Dispatch News on July 29, 2015.

Anchorage physician Dr. Shubhranjan Ghosh buried his face in his hands Wednesday as a judge sentenced him to three and a half years in prison for Medicaid fraud and tampering with evidence.

Superior Court Judge Philip Volland handed down the sentence for the white-collar crime, explaining a penalty including only probation and restitution would send the wrong message to the community.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.