Previously Convicted Former Physician Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud, Health Care Fraud, And Aggravated Identity Theft
Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SPYROS PANOS, a former orthopedic surgeon, who was previously convicted of health care fraud, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas to charges of wire fraud, health care fraud, and aggravated identity theft, in connection with a scheme in which he assumed the identity of a licensed orthopedic surgeon and obtained over $876,000 in payments for reviewing patient files in connection with healthcare appeals and Workers Compensation cases.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Spyros Panos, a former surgeon who surrendered his medical license after a prior conviction in this District for health care fraud, has admitted to committing health care fraud again, this time by impersonating a licensed doctor. Now, for a second time, Panos awaits sentencing for his criminal conduct.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment to which PANOS pled guilty, PANOS, an unlicensed physician, perpetrated a scheme to defraud medical peer review companies by impersonating a licensed orthopedic surgeon practicing in Westchester County (“Doctor-1”). Among other things, PANOS submitted Doctor-1’s credentials to peer review companies and conducted peer reviews using Doctor-1’s name and credentials. During the course of the scheme, PANOS defrauded the peer review companies of $876,389.97.
According to court documents, in advance of his November 2, 2020, trial, PANOS submitted proposed defense exhibits that included fraudulent emails and records.
PANOS, 52, of Hopewell Junction, New York, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, one count of health care fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison. The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
PANOS is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Karas on March 16, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
In connection with his plea, PANOS agreed to forfeit $876,389.97, and to pay restitution in the same amount.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the New York Inspector General for their assistance.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Margery B. Feinzig and Lindsey Keenan are in charge of the prosecution.