Doctor Sentenced to Prison for Health Care Fraud
Defendant Billed Medicare and Private Insurers for Medical Services Not Rendered and Submitted Bills Under Other Doctors’ Names for Higher Reimbursement
Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Hal Abrahamson, a podiatrist with offices in Plainview, Long Island, and Rego Park, Queens, was sentenced by United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley to one year and a day in prison for his role in a health care fraud scheme. The Court also ordered Abrahamson to pay restitution of $869,651, a $50,000 fine and forfeit $177,000. On June 26, 2018, Abrahamson pleaded guilty to health care fraud in connection with the operation of his podiatry practice.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Region (HHS-OIG), announced the sentence.
“Greed dictated this doctor’s billing practices,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The defendant stole a million dollars from Medicare and private insurance companies but has been brought to justice.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the FBI and HHS-OIG for their outstanding work on the case.
According to court documents and as established at the plea proceeding, Abrahamson’s health care fraud scheme was ongoing from January 2013 until January 2017. Abrahamson used several fraudulent billing techniques over the years, including: (i) billing for skin grafts and wound packing services never performed, (ii) billing for work purportedly done by another podiatrist whose reimbursement rate was higher, but which was in fact done by Abrahamson, or not at all, and (iii) billing for more expensive procedures than those actually performed. Regarding the fraudulent billing for skin grafts, Abrahamson billed for this procedure 1,092 times over a four year period in which a podiatrist with a comparable practice in Plainview billed only once and another podiatrist in the defendant’s office billed only five times.
Regarding the fraudulent billing for wound packing, Abrahamson billed for this procedure 757 times over a four-year period, and would routinely add this to his false billing under another podiatrist’s name.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Charles P. Kelly and Madeline O’Connor are in charge of the prosecution.
Melville, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-314 (DRH)