Podiatrist sentenced to probation for drug charge (North Carolina)

 A Grifton podiatrist was sentenced to probation and a fine for a drug charge.

Dr. Paul Joseph Civatte, 52, was given a sentence of 12 months of probation and a  fine for a reduced charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. The case dated back to Dr. Civatte's 2007 arrest for possession of cocaine and maintaining a automobile for the use of controlled substances(CDS).

Dr. Civatee, who is a podiatrist at  Greenville Foot and Ankle Center,  was arrested for allegedly possessing two grams of cocaine while attempting to purchase drugs from undercover officers.

The cocaine possession charge was reduced to possession of drug paraphernalia. The other charge was dismissed.

Joseph Civatte, DPM was sentenced to a term of supervised probation and was fined $1,000. He was ordered to pay court costs in the amount of $541.50.

Source: ENCtoday.com (April 13, 2009)




Podiatrist accused in drugs for sex case (Missouri)

Dr. Dave Dai Quang Pham, a St. Louis podiatrist, is accused of trying to exchange prescription drugs for sex.

The St. Francois County Prosecutor charged 49-year-old Dr. Pham with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, distribution of a controlled substance, and a misdemeanor, patronizing prostitution.

Source: Associated Press (April 2, 2009)

Missouri Podiatrist pleads guilty (MO)

A St. Louis, Missouri podiatrist has plead guilty to obstructing a federal audit when she provided the Medicare program with a false and backdated treatment record, U.S.  said Thursday.

Bic Chau Stafford, D.P.M., 59, who practices at the Family Foot and Ankle Care Center in Maryland Heights, as well as assorted assisted living facilities in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, plead guilty to one felony count of obstruction of a federal audit.  When sentenced Dr. Stafford faces fines of up to $250,000 and  maximum penalty of five years in prison. 

Prosecutors said that Dr. Stafford allegedly billed Medicare for complex foot surgeries provided to 39  Medicare beneficiaries when she was really providing these patients with only routine foot care, such as toenail clippings

Prosecutors said, in response to a Medicare audit, Dr. Stafford created new treatment records for the 39 patients in 2007 and backdated them to 2004, and claimed that she had provided these patients with podiatric surgery.

Source: St. Louis Business Journal (April 2, 2009)

Podiatrist arrested for insurance fraud (MS)

Larry Cruel, D.P.M., a Mississippi podiatrist,  has been arrested following an insurance fraud investigation, announced Attorney General.

Larry Cruel, D.P.M. (age 44), is a podiatrist at Advanced Foot Care in Jackson, MS.  He was recently arrested  by investigators with the Attorney General's Office and charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of wire fraud for allegedly submitting false claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Dr. Cruel faces up to three years for the insurance fraud charge and up to five years for the wire fraud charge .

As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Source: Compnewsnetwork, March 27, 2009 (workerscompensation.com)

Missouri podiatrist pleads guilty to health care fraud (MO)

A St. Louis County podiatrist, Dr. Denise Hardy, 45,  recently plead guilty to a health care fraud charge in federal court in St. Louis and has admitted to over billing Medicaid and Medicare for unnecessary treatments.

Prosecutors said that Denise Hardy, D.P.M.,  lied on treatment notes from 2000 through 2005 so that Medicaid and Medicare would pay for foot care that would not otherwise have been reimbursed.

Dr. Hardy worked for South St. Louis Orthopedic Group between 1998  and 2005 and provided podiatric services at their office as well as at nursing homes, such as Lafayette Habilitation and at senior service centers at St. Anthonys Medical Center and  St. Alexius Hospital.

Denise Hardy was paid a salary of  $55,000  plus between 50 to 60 percent of the revenue she had billed each month over $12,000.

Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch 3-13-2009

Podiatrist Guilty of Healthcare Fraud (Ohio)

Ohio  podiatrist, Dr. Harold M. Jones, DPM,   has been found guilty in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. Dr. Jones, 45, recently went on trial in Cleveland on 22 counts of healthcare fraud, six counts of aggravated identity theft and 26 counts of mail fraud. The jury found him guilty on three of the counts, after three days of deliberations and not guilty on the remainder of the charges.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Roberts, Dr. Jones had used improper billing codes, billed for services that were not rendered and also billed under a false provider number. The doctor was also accused of using another medicare provider number and person’s name in order to submit false claims for reimbursement.

Source: The News-Herald (2-24-09)

Podiatrist admits submission of fraudulent Medicare Claims (Pennsylvania)

A  podiatrist from Scranton, PA,  plead guilty  to taking between $10,000 and $30,000 in Medicare payments for services he did not provide.

Podiatrist Thomas Rittenhouse, DPM, entered a guilty plea to one count of making a false statement in a health care matter. These charge carry up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

At the plea hearing, the Assistant U.S. Attorney said doctor Rittenhouse had filed claims with Medicare between  2003 and  2008 and was paid for services he never provided to patients.  Dr. Rittenhouse is accused of claiming to have performed "nail avulsions", a procedure in which a toenail is removed, but actually just provided routine foot care.

Although the exact amount has not yet been calculated, Dr. Rittenhouse admitted the amount  was between $10,000 and $30,000, and in likely the doctor will be required to pay back the amount that he had received  through filing the fake claims.

Thomas Rittenhouse, DPM,  remains free while awaiting sentencing in Federal Court which is currently set for May 26.

Source: The Times Tribune - 2-18-09

Podiatrist arrested for distributing CDS (LA)

A  podiatrist in Shreveport, Louisianna and his office manager turned themselves into the Caddo Correctional Center.

60-year-old Podiatrist  Dale Fazio, D.P.M.,  is being charged with the unlawfull distribution of  controlled substances and 49-year-old Leighton Fazio is also charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

The arrests stem from an investigation  by the New Orleans Drug Enforcement Agency.

Dr. Fazio is not licensed to dispense controlled substances, he can only write prescriptions for them and can give them by injection, but cannot dispense controlled substances.

 It was learned that approximately 1,500 hydrocodone tablets and 100 codine tablets were ordered under Dr. Fazio's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) number.

It was learned that the drugs were ordered by Mrs. Fazio and that Dr. Fazio knew about the orders. Investigators also learned that the pills ordered were taken by Mrs. Fazio.  

He surrendered his DEA license. He can still practice medicine.

KSLA - 2-19-09

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Podiatrist Sentenced for Medicare and Medicaid Fraud (IL)

West Peoria podiatrist was sentenced Friday to one year in federal prison for bilking Medicare out of thousands of dollars over the past decade by writing bills for medical procedures he didn't perform. Dr. Ernest Nwani, 57, also was ordered to repay $109,127 to Medicare and Medicaid for the bogus operations, some 400 of them in all.

Nwani, the sole medical provider for Footworld Medical Center, which he operated out of his house, admitted he defrauded the government by billing for services he didn't provide or didn't provide to the level that he charged Medicare. A company hired by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to combat fraud last year noted irregular billing practices by the doctor. An investigation revealed patients did not have procedures or even surgeries for which Nwani had billed Medicare.

From 2002 until 2006, Nwani submitted claims, which Medicare paid, for 539 surgical procedures of various types regarding 442 patients and claims for the permanent removal of 1,082 toenails from 394 patients, according to court records. Medicare paid $171,760 for the surgeries and $100,180 for the toenail removals. Thirty-three patients were interviewed and of those, "none of the surgeries billed for these 33 patients and for which Medicare paid, could be verified as having been performed," court records state.


Podiatrist from Luzerne County Disciplined (PA)

The Pennsylvania Department of State Board of Podiatry took action against the following podiatrist in Luzerne County, PA:

• Barry G. Bernstein of Plains on June 18. He was ordered to complete seven hours of continuing education within six months and he paid a $500 civil penalty, because he “failed to complete 30 hours of continuing education in timely and acceptable courses and programs in the profession.”


Source: Timesleader.com [August 16, 2008]

New Jersey Podiatrist admits involvment in fake Medicare Claims scheme (N.J.)

Authorities said that  podiatrist Michael Schmierer, D.PM. from Holmdel  ran clinics in Middlesex and Union counties in New Jersey has admitted to obstructing a federal health-care audit.

Dr. Michael Schmierer is a partner in Advantage Foot and Ankle Centers.  On August 7, he  plead guilty  in U.S. District Court in Trenton to one count of obstructing a federal audit.

Schmierer's podiatry practice had centers in Linden, South Amboy, East Brunswick,  Linden and Oldbridge. 

Advantage Foot and Ankle Center was audited by a Medicare contractor responsible for detecting Medicare fraud.  Medicare requested 25 original medical records of patients who had been treated at Advantage and had submitted claims for reimbursement for those treatments.

Authorities determined that Schmierer and co-conspirators re-wrote patient notes in 7 of the 25  files to in order to enhance the claims sent to Medicare. Schmierer admitted that the seven records had been altered to justify the billing.

Dr. Schmierer's sentence is scheduled for November 18 and he  faces a maximum of five years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine, however sentencing guidelines call for a 12 to 18 months sentence in prison.

Source: mycenteraljersey.com [8/7/08]


The Law Office of Michael Quinn has just launched its new website at http://www.jerseymalpractice.com  


The site contains information regarding Dr. Quinn's practice as well as biographical information. 

State seeks to revoke license of California Podiatrist (CA)

State seeks to revoke license of Fresno podiatrist

A California foot doctor acquitted recently of accusations that he molested his patients is  facing  disciplinary action from california state regulators seeking to revoke his license to practice podiatry.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs alleges that  there is a "clear and present danger" to allow podiatrist Dr. Matthew Sciaroni, D.P.M.  to continue practicing podiatric medicine. 

The jury in Superior Court in Fresno County  recently found Dr. Sciaroni not guilty of child molestation and sexual battery althoug there was testimony of 7  women who said podiatrist touched them inappropriately.

A law judge is set to weigh the Department of Consumer affiars allegations against Dr. Sciaroni and then will likely recommend whether or not Sciaroni  should keep his license to practice podiatry.

Information from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com

Podiatrist sentenced to five years of probation for phony painkiller prescription scheme (PA)

Stuart Deitcher, D.P.M., a podiatrist from Reading, Pennsylvania was sentenced to five year of probation for writing  phony prescriptions to obtain painkillers for himself.

Dr. Deitcher’s license to practice podiatric medicine has been suspended, and according to his attorney his licensee status will come  before a state review board.

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Podiatrist Pleads Guilty to Medicare Health Care Fraud (Illinois)

A podiatrist from Illinois pleaded guilty Friday to bilking Medicare out of thousands of dollars over the past decade by writing bills for medical procedures not performed. The podiatrist's  attorney Ron Hamm contends the amount is less than $20,000, however the government is claiming the amount is closer to $270,000.

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Podiatrist Pleads Guilty to Rx Drug Charges (Ohio)

An Ohio podiatrist pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal charge of conspiring to distribute oxycodone. Dr. Mark Stieby, 37, faces up to 20 years in prison when U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves sentences him on July 14 in Covington. Dr. Stieby admitted to writing prescriptions for oxycodone to three patients in exchange for some of the pills to feed his own addiction to pain medications. According to court records,  the podiatrist took at least 610 pills.

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Podiatrist pleads guilty in drugs-for-sex case (Illinois)

A disciplinary action is violation of the podiatrist's ethical code of conduct.  The professional ethical code governs  professional conduct for those within the organization in order to provide guidelines and/or rules by which the podiatrist is expected to practice.  

The American Podiatric Medical Association (A.P.M.A.) sets forth a Code of Ethics (2005) that governs areas such as  physician patient relationship, billing, and standards of practice.  Although not malpractice per se, many times unethical conduct on part of a podiatrist may reveal elements of an underlying malpractice action.   In addition, some disciplinary actions against a podiatrist may lead to and support a criminal case against the doctor, such as found in the following case. 

Clearly, not only is an intimate relationship with a patient violative of the Code, but the exchange of intercourse for narcotics and taping the encounters, would constitute violations of the code as well.    For instance, yesterday,

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Revocation of Medical License of Ming Tung, D.P.M. (New Jersey)

It is always desirable to research the background of any professional that you may consider engaging for professional services.  In New Jersey, physicians and podiatrists are regulated and governed by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners. At their website you can research and obtain information about physicians and podiatrist who may have been disciplined by the Board.  While not always an indicator of the competence of the practitioner, it is often the case where a significant history can serve as barometer of the ethical and medical aptitude of the provider.   

For example, in the medical  license of podiatrist Dr. Ming Tung, D.P.M. was recently revoked  as a result of fraudulent insurance activity.  The FINAL ORDER OF REVOCATION OF LICENSE was filed September 26, 2007 and viewable at the site. This matter was presented to the Board by way of settlement of an investigation into the conduct of the Doctor. He was the subject of a federal civil and criminal investigation involving fraud on the Medicare Program. Dr. Tung agreed to pay $868,313.38 in settlement of civil claims alleged by the Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. He also pled guilty to a one Count Information, in the District Court of New Jersey. Dr. Tung in a plea agreement agreed to make restitution in the amount of $350,000.00.

Accused IL Podiatrist Claims Vaginal Exam is "Normal Procedure" (Illinois)

A podiatrist from Olympia Fields sexually assaulted a 75-year-old woman during a medical exam then told her he'd done her "a favor," a judge heard in court this week. Dr. Anthony Overton, 63, claims he was following normal procedures for a foot doctor when he touched the woman's breasts and inserted his finger into her vagina and rectum. But as Overton's bench trial began before Judge Michael Toomin at the Cook County Criminal Court on Tuesday morning, Assistant State's Attorney Beth Pfeiffer said, "Those transgressions were a crime." Continue Reading...

NY Podiatrist Arrested For Allegedly Billing Dead Patients (New York)

A Long Island podiatrist was arrested and charged with bilking federal and state healthcare programs by billing them for treatments on patients who had died.

Dr. Alan Cantor was arraigned Wednesday on charges including grand larceny and scheming to defraud. Bail was set at $3,000 bond or $1,500 cash.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that the East Meadow podiatrist had bilked Medicare and Medicaid programs of more than $30,000 over a year-and-a-half by billing them for treatments on patients who had died.

Source: Associated Press [3/13/08]

Podiatrist Charged with Drug Procurement and Insurance Fraud (Connecticut)

A podiatrist from Burlington faces multiple counts of illegal drug procurement and possession and insurance fraud for allegedly illegally filling prescriptions at a Simsbury pharmacy and then trying to pay for them using insurance, police said Wednesday. Dr. Robert Januska, 65, who police said is not licensed to prescribe drugs in Connecticut, turned himself in March 3 after police issued a warrant for his arrest, according to Sgt. Fred Sifodaskalakis, head of the detective division of the Simsbury police.

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