Dallas Psychologist Remanded Into Federal Custody After Pleading Guilty to Health Care Fraud Offense
Treated Disabled Federal Workers
DALLAS — Psychologist Michael Ellis Wolf, 62, of Dallas, was remanded into federal custody today after pleading guilty, before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, to an Information charging one count of health care fraud. Wolf faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution, and he agrees to surrender his license to practice psychology. Sentencing is set for May 7, 2014. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Wolf provided psychotherapy to individuals, including civilian employees of the federal government who sustained on-the-job injuries or employment-related occupational illness. The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) provides disability compensation benefits and payment for medical and rehabilitation care for federal civilian employees who sustain on-the-job injuries or employment-related occupational illness. The FECA is a health care benefit program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Workers Compensation Program.
As part of his scheme to defraud a health care benefit program, Wolf filed claims for payment of services that were never rendered and for services that were rendered in far less quantities than billed.
For example, through his billings, Wolf claimed he provided therapy for one particular injured federal employee, from January 2008 through mid-2013, seven days a week, when he in truth and fact he would only provide it once or twice a week, for 60 minutes. He also falsely claimed through billings that he provided therapy to this individual on holidays and on Sundays, and that on multiple days, he provided eight hours of therapy, per day, for this patient. Wolf also falsely claimed, through billings, that he provided four-eight hours of explanations to this patient’s family and employers multiple times a week, when in fact, he only offered occasional phone or in-office consultation with the family.
During this time period, the total amount billed by Wolf, on behalf of this patient, was more than $1.9 million. Of the amount billed, Wolf was paid more than $1 million.
The investigation is being conducted by DOL Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney P. J. Meitl is in charge of the prosecution.
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