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Dentist sentenced after allegedly defrauding Medicaid

A former dentist from Shreveport, Louisiana, has been sentenced by a state district judge. The 56-year-old dentist was given five years of probation in conjunction with two years of home incarceration for allegedly defrauding the state's Medicaid system. The two fraud charges he was found guilty of in January will also see the man performing 300 hours of community service along with making payments on a $1,000 fine and a restitution fee of $1,100.

In 1992, the man pleaded no contest to Medicaid fraud and was excluded from the program because of this. Once excluded, an individual cannot be employed by, contract with, or have an ownership interest in any health-care business that bills Medicaid because they are not allowed to provide any services that may be billed to Medicaid either directly or indirectly. If an excluded individual is involved in this manner, it is considered a crime. The Louisiana Attorney General's Office made sure to focus on this point when prosecuting the 56-year-old.

The dentist was employed from 2005 to 2007 with a now-deceased dentist from Shreveport. During his time of employment, the man allegedly treated recipients of Medicaid. Prosecutors alleged that false billing claims were submitted to Medicaid under the provider number of the other dentist by the doctor, allowing him to collect payments from Medicaid for the services he provided.

According to the judge, the former dentist sent him a letter expressing his remorse and asking for forgiveness as well as leniency. The 56-year-old was given some leniency by the judge as he faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison and fines of $20,000 for each count of fraud.

Though the 56-year-old dentist was an accomplished dentist during his working years, the presiding state district judge noted that the man will likely lose his medical license as a result of his alleged crimes. There was no word on whether the doctor was represented by a criminal defense attorney in the case.

Source: The Advocate, "Louisiana dentist put on 5 years' probation for Medicaid fraud," Joe Gyan, Jr., July 5, 2012

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