New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer this week announced the arrest of six individuals – including five dentists and an office manager – and the conviction of a Bronx man who posed as a dentist as part of a citywide crackdown on dental fraud involving the Medicaid program.
“The defendants are accused of preying upon our poorest citizens to selfishly enrich themselves,” said Spitzer. “I am committed to using the full resources of my office to hold accountable health professionals who defraud the Medicaid program and who jeopardize the safety of patients by allowing unlicensed or unqualified individuals to treat them.”
Among those arrested were two Bronx dentists who fraudulently billed the Medicaid program for services they reportedly never provided to patients. Dr. Dawer Nadi is accused of charging taxpayers for having
treated patients who were either dead at the time he claimed to have treated them or were former patients of another dentist and never seen by Nadi.
The other Bronx case involves Dr. Vincent D’Addio, who reportedly
allowed two unlicensed individuals working in his office to unlawfully perform dental procedures on patients, including drilling, extractions and cleanings.
Also arrested was Dr. Joel Geller, the owner of a Manhattan dental center, and his brother and office manager, Howard Geller. The Gellers are charged with stealing more than $300,000 by claiming that another dentist had treated various Medicaid recipients. In fact, as the Gellers reportedly knew, that dentist had relocated to California and the services were actually performed by Alex Grunberg, a dentist who had been disqualified from participating in the Medicaid program and barred from providing services to Medicaid patients.
In Brooklyn, Dr. Alex Vorob is accused of submitting reimbursement claims which falsely stated that he had treated Medicaid recipients who were affiliated with the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD).
Under Medicaid regulations, dentists are entitled to receive an additional $25 per recipient in connection with an initial visit for dental services if the recipient is an OMRDD client. According to the complaint filed in the case, only 11 of the 869 individuals for
whom Dr. Vorob billed as being OMRDD affiliated clients actually were.
Also in Brooklyn, Dr. Yelena Vinter is charged with fraudulently billing the Medicaid program for having filled cavities for 11 recipients when, in fact, no such services were provided.
Lastly, Douglas Martinez, who unlawfully practiced dentistry in a Bronx dental office for three months, pleaded guilty in October 2004 in Bronx Criminal Court to Attempted Unauthorized Practice
of a Profession for providing services to a Medicaid patient without being licensed to perform such services.
The cases announced are part of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s ongoing investigation of New York’s dental industry, which, since 2001, has resulted in criminal charges
against 40 defendants.
Thirty-three cases have been completed to date, all resulting in conviction and courtimposed restitution totaling more than $4 million.
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