The Fruits of Fraud

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The term ”fruits of labor” refers to the results of hard work that yields benefits. For example, farmers toil long hours by tilling the soil, planting seeds, watering their plants and preventing pestilence from overtaking their crops. Their hard work and effort usually pays off in a bountiful harvest benefitting themselves and others through the sale of their produce. On the other hand, fraudsters generally reap the ”fruits of fraud” by taking from others only to selfishly benefit themselves. An article published by the Alaska Dispatch News tells the story of an Anchorage psychiatrist who bilked Medicaid of more than $600,000 and then spent the illegally-gained money on the fruits of his fraud – gambling, women, drugs and vacations.

The psychiatrist, who specialized in treating children and adolescents with autism and mental health issues, allegedly enlisted the help of his office manager to fraudulently submit more than $1 million in false claims to Medicare over four years. (The article states that the doctor blamed the office manager for the fraudulent claims stating that he should have completed a background check before hiring the man who was also a felon. Conversely, the office manager claimed he learned of the embezzlement following an audit and admitted to the fraud after he realized what had happened, then recorded a conversation where the doctor admitted to the fraud during the investigation.)

During the investigation, the doctor continued to treat patients with a monitor strapped to his ankle for 15 months. (As a parent of one of his patients, I believe I would have sought treatment for my child elsewhere.)

The fraudster pleaded guilty to Medicaid Assistance fraud. In order to send the right message to others who might be contemplating similar crimes, the judge sentenced the psychiatrist to seven years in jail with three-and-a-half years suspended plus 10 years probation. He was ordered to pay $605,000 in restitution. (The state was nice enough to drop 23 other charges related to Medicaid fraud, numerous drug charges related to allegations that he had a prescription drug dependency and prescribed opiate prescriptions to friends.)

In addition to being barred from billing Medicaid for at least five years, the doctor is waiting to hear about the future of his medical license. While it was indicated that the psychiatrist wanted to restore his image within the community, it might be a difficult task now that he has been convicted of fraud. Kudos goes to the judge for maintaining the integrity of the Medicaid program by making this fraudster pay for the fruits of his fraudulent labor.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Anchorage Doctor Sentenced to Prison in Medicaid Fraud Case,” written by Jerzy Shedlock and published by Alaska Dispatch News on July 29, 2015.

Anchorage physician Dr. Shubhranjan Ghosh buried his face in his hands Wednesday as a judge sentenced him to three and a half years in prison for Medicaid fraud and tampering with evidence.

Superior Court Judge Philip Volland handed down the sentence for the white-collar crime, explaining a penalty including only probation and restitution would send the wrong message to the community.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.