Psychiatrist Busted For Fraud


Restitution payments to drive N.Y. psychiatrist’s jail time for fraud

By Keith L. Martin

Posted: January 26, 2010

A New York psychiatrist could face a maximum of 15 years in prison or as little as one year, depending on how much of his court-ordered restitution he pays in the next few months stemming from his conviction from Medicaid fraud.

Dr. Godfrey Mbonu and his corporate medical group, Sisck Inc., pleaded guilty to grand larceny, a felony conviction, Dec. 22, 2009, according to the New York Attorney General’s Office.

The plea comes after an investigation by the office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which revealed that from 2003 to 2009, Mbonu individually and through his New York City-based firm submitted hundreds of claims to the state’s Medicaid program for services never provided.

Records obtained through the investigation indicated that Mbonu submitted claims to Medicaid that he performed psychotherapy sessions in his office in New York when he was actually traveling in Nigeria and also claimed to perform in-office sessions with patients actually in the hospital.

The investigation also found that to double his payment from Medicaid, Mbonu billed Medicaid at the higher psychiatrist rate when psychotherapy sessions were performed by a clinical social worker, according to the attorney general’s office.

Mbonu admitted his intention to defraud Medicaid in New York County Supreme Court and was ordered to pay $214,156.90 in restitution to the state.

As part of his plea, if Mbonu fails to pay the full amount by the time of his sentence on April 28, the court can order him to serve five to fifteen years in state prison. If the doctor pays the restitution in full, he will be permitted to withdraw his grand larceny plea for a grand larceny in the third degree plea, qualifying for a sentence of one year behind bars.

“Records show this doctor fraudulently billed Medicaid hundreds of times for care that was never provided,” said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a statement. “He tried to game the system, was caught, and is now going to jail. My office will not tolerate people using the Medicaid system for personal gain.”

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