New Jersey’s Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a Bergen County father and son – the owner and office manager respectively of a Bergen County dental office – have been charged by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor with practicing dentistry without a license and fraudulently billing insurance companies for dental services not provided or performed by non-licensed individuals.
According to Vaughn McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Lev Natovich, 35, of Bergen County, was charged in a State Grand Jury indictment with Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree), conspiracy to commit Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree), theft by deception (3rd degree), conspiracy to commit theft by deception (3rd degree), unlawful practice of dentistry (3rd degree) and conspiracy to commit unlawful practice of dentistry (3rd degree).
The State Grand Jury also charged Boris Natovich (Lev Natovich’s father), 56, of Franklin Lakes and Joseph P. Matriss, 79, of Bergen County. Boris Natovich was charged with Health Care Claims Fraud, conspiracy, theft by deception, and conspiracy to commit unlawful practice of dentistry. Matriss was charged with Health Care Claims Fraud, conspiracy to commit Health Care Claims Fraud, theft by deception, and conspiracy to commit theft by deception.
A second degree crime carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. A crime of the third degree is punishable by up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The defendants also face the possibility of the imposition of civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. Additionally, Matriss’ case will be referred to the Board of Dental Examiners for action with respect to his license to practice dentistry.
According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown, the indictment identified Boris Natovich as the owner of United Dental Center located at 35 Wallington Ave., Wallington, Bergen County. Lev Natovich is identified as the manager of the dental center and Matriss is identified as a licensed dentist who performed dental services at United Dental Center.
The indictment charges that between September, 1999 and March, 2002, Boris Natovich and Matriss reportedly assisted Lev Natovich in the day-to-day operation of United Dental Center, including providing dental treatment to patients, including children, even though they were not licensed in New Jersey to practice dentistry.
Additionally, the indictment alleges that United Dental Center submitted fraudulent bills to various insurance companies, including the Local 338 Fund and Delta Dental Insurance, for dental services and treatments which reflected Matriss as the treating dentist. In many instances, it is alleged that Matriss did not perform the dental procedures and that the patients were treated by Natovich or others who were not licenced to practice dentistry.
The defendants were charged pursuant to New Jersey’s Health Care Claims Fraud statute which became effective on Jan. 15, 1998. The indictment was handed up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg, the Assignment Judge in charge of the State Grand Jury, on July 11.
The case is assigned to the Bergen County Superior Court for trial and the defendants will be ordered to appear at a future date for bail and arraignment.
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