News and Press Releases

Jury Convicts Las Vegas Podiatrist of Submitting Fraudulent Bills to Medicare

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2005

Las Vegas, Nev. - Following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson, a jury convicted a Las Vegas podiatrist today of 67 counts of Health Care Fraud for fraudulently billing Medicare for surgeries not performed and services not rendered, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

NICK T. NGUYEN, D.P.M., age 40, a licensed Nevada podiatrist operating at 3009 West Charleston Boulevard, in Las Vegas, was indicted in May 2004 on charges that he knowingly and willfully executed a scheme to defraud Medicare of money in connection with the delivery and payment for health care benefits and services. In convicting today, the jury found that DR. NGUYEN fraudulently billed Medicare for ingrown toenail surgeries for 16 patients, when in fact he rendered routine foot care. The jury also found that DR. NGUYEN fraudulently billed for office visits and surgical procedures on the same day, when in fact he had not rendered the two separate services.

In order to conceal the scheme, DR. NGUYEN listed fraudulent diagnosis codes on Medicare claim forms and falsified progress notes in order to receive the reimbursements from Medicare. DR. NGUYEN also waived co-payments and charged his cash customers significantly lower prices than he billed Medicare.

Medicare regulations do not permit a physician to be reimbursed for rendering routine foot care or for office visits and surgical procedures performed on the same day, unless a significant separately identifiable service above and beyond the usual care associated with the procedure is provided.

"Significant resources have been devoted by the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office to this investigation and prosecution," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "The case demonstrates our commitment to preventing health care fraud in Nevada."

DR. NGUYEN is free on bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for July 1, 2005. He is facing up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

The case is being investigated by Special Agents with the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Crane M. Pomerantz and Andrew Duncan.

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