Kinderhook Podiatrist Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud, Pays $410,000 to Resolve False Claims Act Liability
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Podiatrist Perrin D. Edwards, age 64, of Kinderhook, New York, pled guilty on Tuesday to health care fraud for illegally charging Medicare and private insurance companies for services that he never provided. Edwards has also paid $410,000 to the United States to resolve his civil liability for his submission of false claims for payment to the Medicare program.
The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Regional Office for the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and Vadim D. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Edwards’s guilty plea was entered as part of a nationwide law enforcement operation targeting health care fraud, announced today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other officials in Washington, D.C. (see news release).
As part of his guilty plea, Edwards admitted that he operated a podiatry practice with offices in Hudson and Albany, New York, and caused false and fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare and private insurance companies for podiatric medical services that he had not performed or that he knew would not be covered by insurance.
Edwards admitted that he performed routine foot care services that were not covered by insurers, and falsely represented that nail debridement services were performed for some patients. Nail debridement is the process of removing dead and diseased portions of a toenail in order to significantly reduce its thickness and length, with the aim of allowing the patient to move around without pain.
Edwards also submitted claims to insurers for the trimming of normal toenails for patients Edwards knew did not suffer from any systemic condition such that Medicare and other insurers would cover his services. In connection with these fraudulent claims, Edwards caused false information to be entered into the patients’ medical records indicating that the patients suffered from systemic conditions and had reported symptoms that were not present.
Edwards faces up to 10 years in prison, up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release, and the possibility of a fine, when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino on November 14, 2017. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
As part of the civil settlement, Edwards has paid $410,000 to the United States and admitted that he submitted, or caused others to submit, false claims for payment to the government representing that he had performed toenail debridements. Edwards also admitted that he submitted, or caused others to submit, false claims for payment for trimming toenails of patients that he knew did not suffer from conditions covered by Medicare.
This case was investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey C. Coffman. The United States was represented in the civil case by Assistant United States Attorney Adam J. Katz.