When a plea of ”no contest” is made, it means that the defendant accepts the alleged charges against him or her without admitting guilt or offering a defense. One advantage of entering this type of plea could include the avoidance of a very expensive and public trial. (The disadvantage is that it is considered the same as a conviction.) A story published in the Leavenworth Times tells about a doctor who entered a ”no contest” plea regarding his alleged fraudulent activities against Medicaid.
The article states that the retired 71-year-old Leavenworth physician billed Medicaid for services he did not perform because he was not in the medical office at the time the claims stated. The government benefits program paid his medical practice more than $12,000 for his purported claims over a four-year period of time.
The doctor entered a plea of ”no contest” to one count of unlawful acts concerning computers, one count of mailing a false claim and four counts of obstruction of a Medicaid fraud investigation. (The Judge accepted the plea and found him guilty. This was probably not a surprise.) As a result of the plea, six other charges were dropped. The physician has already paid $12,609 in restitution, the amount he received from Medicaid. He also had to give up his Medicaid provider number and let his Drug Enforcement Administration prescribing number expire without the possibility of renewal.
Even though he remains on supervised bond, the retired physician is allowed to visit family members and volunteer for an organization in New York while awaiting sentencing. (He must not be considered to be a flight risk.) The prosecution has recommended early termination of probation if the restitution and court fees are paid by the upcoming sentencing date.
If this doctor complies with the court, he’ll get off pretty easy. (I guess that’s a good deal for the physician because of his age, and it appears that he did pay the benefits program back for his purported illegal activities.) It looks like he will right his wrong and as a consequence of his actions, he will no longer be allowed to scam the government.
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Retired Doctor Pleads No Contest in Medicaid Fraud Case,” published by the Leavenworth Times on September 3, 2014.
A retired Leavenworth physician has pleaded no contest to six felony charges in a Medicaid fraud case.
Dr. Adnan A. Ashkar, 71, entered his plea Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court.