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Betsy C. Jividen

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September 30, 2009

Marlinton Physician Sentenced to Three Years
for Heath Care Fraud

ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA — A Marlinton, West Virginia, physician was sentenced on September 29, 2009, in United States District Court in Elkins by Judge Irene M. Keeley.

Acting United States Attorney Betsy C. Jividen announced that JOHN C. SHARP, a doctor of osteopathic medicine who was licensed to practice in West Virginia, was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment, to be followed by three years supervised release. SHARP was convicted in June 2008 of 29 counts of health care fraud. The Indictment returned against SHARP in December 2007, charged that beginning in May of 1998 and continuing to January of 2006, in the Northern District of West Virginia, SHARP devised a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs, namely, Medicare, Medicaid and West Virginia Workers’ Compensation, by billing the programs for services that were not rendered and also causing the programs to pay a higher rate of reimbursement than was warranted in light of the services that actually were rendered. During this time period, SHARP obtained approximately $228,203.58 from Medicare, approximately $223,870.91 from Medicaid and approximately $90,201.02 from West Virginia Workers’ Compensation by submitting claims for services that were not rendered and claims which misrepresented the level of office visit services actually rendered.

In addition to the sentence imposed, SHARP was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $542,275.51 to Medicaid, Medicare, and West Virginia Workers’ Compensation.

According to Acting USA Jividen, “This case involved intentional fraud aimed at three taxpayer-funded entities (Medicaid, Medicare, and West Virginia Workers’ Compensation). The evidence presented at the June 2008 trial revealed that Dr. Sharp had been given notice on several occasions, through audit and other direct correspondence, that his billing practices were improper, yet he nonetheless continued the fraudulent billings.”

SHARP, who is currently free on bond, will self-report to a designated federal institution.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan G. McGonigal and Assistant United States Attorney Randolph J. Bernard. The case was investigated by agents of Health and Human Services/Office of Inspector General, the West Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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