St. Louis County Doctor Pleads Guilty to Obstructing FBI Investigation
St. Louis, MO – Dr. Vidal Sheen, 58, St. Louis County, Missouri, pled guilty to obstructing an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) regarding whether he billed the Medicare program and private insurers for “face to face” office visits performed on dates when he was actually traveling outside of Missouri, and sometimes traveling outside of the United States.
According to his plea agreement, Dr. Sheen operated a medical office in St. Louis County, Missouri. At the medical office, Dr. Sheen created medical records using a template falsely recited patients’ symptoms and histories, and sometimes recorded vital signs (e.g. pulse rates) that did not change between patients’ visits.
Moreover, from time to time, defendant traveled to various destinations, including Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Florida. For these timeframes when Dr. Sheen was out of town, he created office notes with false entries reflecting that he had seen patients in his office, using his electronic signature. Dr. Sheen's medical records did not discuss the role of the other employees in his office during the out-of-town visits, or his absence from the office on the dates of service.
The United States served Dr. Sheen’s office with a subpoena requesting medical records regarding his office visits in late 2016. In response to the subpoena, on December 1, 2016, Dr. Sheen produced medical records to the FBI in which he had made false entries about face-to-face office visits, in an effort to impede, obstruct, and influence the FBI’s billing investigation.
Dr. Sheen pled guilty to one felony count of obstructing an investigation before United States District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig. Sentencing has been set for October 23, 2018. He now faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000, per count. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.