Two weeks after getting indicted on corruption charges alongside U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen has been hit with a 76-count indictment alleging that he illegally obtained $190 million via Medicare fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.Â
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Melgen, 61, of North Palm Beach, Florida has been charged with 46 counts of health care fraud, 19 counts of making, filing and presenting and filing false, fictitious and fraudulent claims and 11 counts of making false statements relating to health care, officials said.
According to the indictment, Melgen had four medical offices located in Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties, providing care to approximately 100 patients a day – most of which were Medicare patients.
From 2004 through 2013, Melgen allegedly participated in a scheme to submit false claims to Medicare by creating fraudulent entries on patients’ medical charts, allowing him to bill for medically unreasonable and unnecessary tests, authorities said.
Melgen is also accused of filing false information in patient files, including false diagnoses, fictitious drawings and diagrams that misrepresented the condition of patients’ eyes, later preparing false reports regarding his abnormal billing practices, the indictment says.
Between January 2008 and December 2013, Melgen allegedly billed Medicare $190 million, for which his practice was reimbursed more than $105 million and a substantial portion of the reimbursement payments were obtained through fraudulent billing, officials said.
â€œMedicare was created to ensure adequate protection for the senior citizens against the cost of health care and to ensure that they are provided with quality medical services,â€ said Southern Florida U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer in a statement.
â€œMedical professionals who violate their oath by failing to attend to the health of their patients and who submit falsified billing statements for their own personal gain, jeopardize the viability of government benefit programs.”
Melgen and Menendez pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of federal corruption charges in U.S. District Court in Newark on April 2.