man who posed as wellsville doctor sentenced for health care fraud
BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Fitzgerald Anthony Hudson, 53, formerly of Western New York, who was convicted of health care fraud for lying about his qualifications to practice medicine, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years supervised release by Chief U.S. District Chief Judge William M. Skretny. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $227,548.35.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case, stated that in August 2008, the defendant submitted an application and was later accepted to work as a doctor in the Emergency Department at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, N.Y. In his August application, the defendant stated that (1) he had earned a degree from York University in Ontario, Canada, (2) he had never voluntarily withdrawn or resigned any employment or privileges at any healthcare facility in order to avoid the imposition of disciplinary measures, and (3) he had never been denied or suspended from any healthcare facility. In fact, the defendant did not have a degree from York, had been suspended from his duties as a resident and dismissed from the residency program due to academic incompetence at the Warren Hospital Family Practice Residency Program in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and had resigned from the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, New York after being told he would be terminated for poor performance.
During the course of this prosecution, the government presented evidence that while employed at Jones Memorial Hospital, Hudson treated a five year old child who subsequently died shortly after being treated by the defendant. That case is now the subject of an ongoing wrongful death civil suit in state court. The government further introduced a New York State Board of Professional Medical Conduct investigation which concluded that the defendant obtained his medical license by fraud and while practicing medicine, and engaged in gross negligence and gross incompetence with at least five patients.
“Each and every day, people across this country place their lives and their health – as well as the lives and health of their families - into the hands of those they believe to be trained medical professionals,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Such medical visits are always accompanied by the highest level of trust and hope that the person we are seeing is actually qualified to provide the care for which we are seeking treatment. It is difficult to imagine a more egregious case of health care fraud than this – where a person lies in order to become an Emergency Room physician, had been twice previously cited for incompetence and poor performance, and in fact was not a legitimate doctor at all. This Office will continue to crack down on all types of health care fraud and will vigorously prosecute those who lie about their qualifications to practice medicine.”
As for the defendant’s offense of conviction, the government established that once the defendant illegally obtained his medical staff appointment, Delphi Healthcare, Hudson’s employer, billed and received approximately $227,548.35 from Medicare, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Univera Healthcare, and Independent Health for services rendered by the defendant.The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Brian P. Boetig, Special Agent in Charge, Special Agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations under the direction of Thomas O'Donnell, Special Agent in Charge, and Investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.