“The defendants ran a longstanding hospital into the ground through their greed and fraud. (They) had patients sit around the facility watching movies while they received no treatment. Meanwhile, the defendants billed Medicare millions, for care that was never provided. This brazen fraud cannot and will not be tolerated.” (Assistant Attorney General Caldwell)
A South Texas doctor has been sentenced to a 12-year term for her role in a $158,000,000 Medicare scheme. Some of her thieving buddies got much worse.
Doctor Sharon Iglehart, age 58, a former staff psychiatrist at Riverside General Hospital in Houston, will spend more than a decade in federal prison for taking part in Medicare fraud scam involving false claims for mental health treatment. She was also ordered to pay a $6,000,000 restitution fine. She was sentenced in the first week of April by U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal.
After a 7-day trial in September 2015, a jury convicted Iglehart of Healthcare Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Healthcare Fraud, and Lying on patient medical records.
The prosecution was able to prove that the jaw-dropping scam started as far back as 2006 until she and her co-conspirators were arrested in June 2012. Iglehart and others submitted $158,000,000 in false claims through Riverside Hospital billing department, for what were supposed to be hospitalization services – that is, comprehensive outpatient treatment for patients with severe mental illness. But the evidence revealed the Medicare-covered patients never did receive such treatments. The majority of them rarely even saw a psychiatrist, nor did they receive psychiatric treatment at all, according to the Department of Justice.
The investigation shows that Iglehart billed Medicare for patient psychotherapy and other treatment that she never provided. It also reveals that she falsified medical records of patients at the Riverside Hospital inpatient facility, to “document” she had provided psychiatric treatment, when in fact she did not.
At least a dozen other people have been found guilty in the conspiracy, including the former hospital CEO of Riverside General Hospital, Ernest Gibson, as well as his 37-year old son, Ernest Gibson, Jr. Gibson senior is behind bars for 45 years; his son – who operated a satellite psychiatric facility called Devotions Care Solutions – was sentenced to 20 years.
The Department of Justice reports they have recovered more than $2,000,000,000 stolen in healthcare fraud crimes nationwide – by criminal physicians, crooked clinic administrators and others = in the year 2015 alone.