You don’t often see a criminal admit guilt and be truly sorry for the crime committed. But, it appears that when standing before a judge, true remorse and regret goes a long way toward reducing a prison sentence. The San Jose Mercury News reports that this tactic worked for a doctor who claimed he was grateful he got caught by authorities for defrauding the federal government.
The story states that the psychologist from Whittier overbilled his patients for costs that were covered by the government. He claimed that he did this so that his patients, who were unable to pay for services, could be treated. (A cavalier idea, yet it is illegal to do that.)
Two of the doctor’s patients were former postal workers, who purportedly submitted fraudulent workers’ compensation claims for nearly eight years in order to obtain compensation for undiagnosed psychological conditions that never occurred. The doctor billed the U.S. Postal service for nearly $1 million in medical fees and received approximately half of that amount in payment. Some of the bills were submitted stating service was provided during the time the doctor was out of the area or country.
The psychologist pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and offered a convincing speech stating the remorse he had for his fraudulent actions. (Lucky for him, the judge went easy on him.) He was sentenced to five years of probation, including home confinement and electronic monitoring for the first year. He will also pay $172,754 in restitution. The two former patients each reached plea agreements and were sentenced to probation and restitution at an earlier time.
Whether the doctor had good or bad intentions of treating his patients, workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime. This type of fraud increases healthcare and workers’ compensation costs hurting American taxpayers pay in the end.