Saturday, July 02, 2011

Fla Doc Guilty in $200 million Medicare Fraud

On Thursday, Gumer, 64, of Tamarac pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud for his crucial role in a massive, $200 million scheme. The racket enabled Miami-based American Therapeutic Corp. to bill the government program for psychotherapy that was unnecessary for thousands of patients who faked suffering from depression, schizophrenia or bipolar conditions.

Justice Department lawyer Jennifer Saulino said Gumer was responsible for $19.3 million in false claims filed on behalf of the patients, who were paid kickbacks by the American Therapeutic chain of South Florida clinics. Asked by U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz why he pleaded guilty, Gumer said: "It's the right thing to do."

Gumer became the first doctor among three psychiatrists indicted in the American Therapeutic case to admit playing such a dominant part in the seven-year scam, which netted $83 million in Medicare payments for the company. He and two other psychiatrists, Dr. Mark Willner of Weston and Dr. Alberto Ayala of Miami-Dade, served as the company's medical directors.