In the end, it was the outsized ego of a popular Miami Beach, Florida, doctor that determined his future in prison. On June 13, a federal judge sentenced a 54-year-old osteopathic physician to almost six years in prison for Medicare fraud and illegal prescription drug sales. The judge presiding over the case said that he tried to be lenient, but the defendant's stiff refusal to accept culpability for his crimes had forced the judge's hand.
Patients of the Miami Beach physician gave the defendant the nickname of the "Rock Doc," largely because of his elaborately spiked blond hairdo. According to the prosecutor, the doctor was involved in billing the taxpayer-funded Medicare system for physical therapy sessions, ultrasounds and other services that he or his health care company never provided.
Authorities finally arrested the doctor in September 2013. According to prosecutors, investigators caught the doctor selling large amounts of prescription painkillers to undercover agents three separate times in 2011. In February, the defendant pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare for over $5 million in faked or unnecessary medical treatments between December 2007 and August 2009.
In addition to the prison sentence, the doctor's home on Pine Tree Drive in Miami Beach and his 2002 Mercedes-Benz were forfeited to the U.S. government. He must also return roughly $1.65 million that Medicare paid out to him.
Criminal defendants charged by the government for Medicare fraud should know that they have a protected right to challenge the evidence and testimony provided against them at trial. In the event that a defendant elects not to go to trial, an experienced criminal defense attorney can assist in negotiating a plea agreement in some cases.
Source: Miami Herald, "Miami Beach’s ‘Rock Doc’ sentenced to six years for Medicare fraud" Jay Weaver, Jun. 13, 2014