Doctor practicing in Great Neck pleads guilty to health care fraud

Doctor practicing in Great Neck pleads guilty to health care fraud
A doctor practicing in Great Neck pleaded guilty to health care fraud in federal court on Monday. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A doctor practicing in Great Neck who was charged with billing Medicare for millions of dollars worth of procedures that were never conducted pleaded guilty to health care fraud in federal court on Monday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.

Morris Barnard, 58, allegedly submitted billings for gastroenterological and colonoscopy procedures that were not performed to Medicare from October 2015 to February 2020, officials said. The total cost of the billings exceeded $3 million, of which Medicare reimbursed approximately $1.4 million worth of fraudulent claims, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Officials said a majority of the billings claimed that the procedures were rendered to individuals with various disabilities living in residential group homes. The guilty plea was announced by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, Breon Peace, Special Agent-in-Charge of Health & Human Services Scott Lampert and FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll.

“With today’s guilty plea, Dr. Barnard admits to committing a multi-million dollar fraud on the Medicare program by billing for procedures he did not perform,” Peace said. “By claiming to render services to disabled and other vulnerable patients, Dr. Barnard not only pocketed taxpayer funds that were intended to help beneficiaries in need, he also betrayed his oath for profit.”

“Money that’s allocated for Medicare-approved services, and fraudulently paid out to providers who don’t actually perform these services, is a crime that’s ultimately paid for by taxpayers themselves. Our office is committed to rooting out this type of fraudulent activity and maintaining the integrity of our government-sponsored health care programs,” Driscoll said.

“The defendant’s actions diverted scarce taxpayer funds from the Medicare program for personal enrichment while taking advantage of vulnerable individuals,” Lampert said.

Efforts to reach Barnard’s attorney, Larry Krantz, for comment  were unavailing. Officials said Barnard is to return to federal court in Central Islip on June 10 for sentencing.

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