New York State Insurance Superintendent Gregory Serio, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly jointly announced the filing of charges against four psychotherapists who fraudulently billed insurance companies for counseling services they claimed were provided to hundreds of motor vehicle accident victims.
The 263-count indictment, filed last week in Kings County Supreme Court, charges the defendants with conspiracy and multiple counts of grand larceny, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records. They are specifically alleged to have over-billed insurance carriers for services provided to patients or submitted bills for services that were never rendered.
“These practitioners tried to take the ‘easy’ way out and steal money from the insurance system. The announcement of these arrests proves that the Attorney General, the Police Commissioner and I want to make it clear – we will not allow there to be an ‘easy’ way to take money from honest insurance consumers who may pay more in premiums because of these fraudsters,” Serio stressed. “If you choose to commit insurance fraud in New York State you will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The indictment follows last week’s announcement of charges against four owners of ambulette companies for submitting fraudulent transportation bills to insurance carriers under no-fault. The schemes alleged that the owners of the companies charged for “hundreds of motor vehicle accident victims for whom the billed transportation services were not provided.”
Attorney General Spitzer noted: “Insurance fraud is a crime against all New Yorkers. We pay the price for the defendants’ greed through the resulting increased premiums. By abusing the no-fault insurance system these professionals do a disservice to the very people they are supposed to help. These fraudulent practices have no place in New York and will not be tolerated.”
“The psychotherapists charged in this fraud attempted to make illegal profits at the expense of several insurance companies. This is a familiar crime, motivated by greed, which hurts the average New Yorker in the form of higher insurance rates. I want to commend the Attorney General and the State Insurance Superintendent for their cooperation in this investigation,” stated Police Commissioner Kelly.
The defendants were named as: Gabriel Feldmar, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, and three psychotherapists under his employ, Brian McCarthy, Tomeka Austin, and Nasim Jadoon. “Patients were directed by clinic staff to meet with a psychotherapist supervised by Dr. Feldmar without regard to medical necessity,” said the bulletin. “Many of the patients had suffered minor injuries as a result of car accidents in which the vehicles sustained little or no damage.”
The indictment indicated that “during the period from April, 2000 to September, 2003, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to submit falsified no-fault claims to insurance carriers for counseling services for hundreds of motor vehicle accident victims that were never rendered. They submitted fraudulent claims totaling approximately $88,000.” Each of the defendants faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the top count of the indictment.
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