A Ohio doctor is the second in his family to be convicted of workers’ compensation fraud and banned from treating Ohio injured workers.
Dr. David Esarco pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud for improper billing practices a year after his brother, Dr. John Esarco, was in court for similar offenses. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the Office of Attorney General Mike DeWine teamed to pursue fraud charges against the brothers, who practiced medicine in the same office. The two have now paid restitution totaling nearly $120,000.
“It is disappointing when a provider commits fraud at the expense of Ohio employers and injured workers in order to pad their paycheck,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “We are pleased they have returned what they owe to the State Insurance Fund, but decertifying them as providers was important to ensuring other injured workers in northeast Ohio receive the quality treatment they deserve from physicians with their best interests in mind.”
BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) opened in an investigation into David Esarco after receiving information he was billing BWC for services he was not providing and billing for dates when injured workers were never scheduled for an office visit.
SID conducted a search warrant after several interviews and surveillance supported the allegation. An undercover operative posed as a patient and Esarco later billed for services he never provided and billed on dates when the operative never had a scheduled office visit.
Esarco pleaded guilty to a felony count of workers’ compensation fraud November 15. He was ordered to pay restitution of $55,577.65 and $20,000 for investigative costs. He also agreed to voluntarily decertification as a BWC provider. Esarco has paid the full amount totaling $75,577.65.
“It’s as upsetting as it is illegal when fraud is involved in the medical care of injured workers,” said Attorney General DeWine. “We will continue to work with other agencies, such as the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, to ensure that billed care is provided, or restitution is made.”
David Esarco’s brother, Dr. John Esarco, was already decertified as a BWC provider after pleading guilty last year fraud for similar offenses. The chiropractor was improperly billing BWC for exercise therapy, a service which he did not perform.
John Esarco pleaded guilty in August 2011. He was sentenced to a six month suspended jail sentence, and ordered to pay restitution of $44,184.80. Esarco also signed a voluntary BWC decertification letter and repaid the full amount.
Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
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