Arthur Copes of Baton Rouge has been found guilty on eight counts of insurance fraud, according to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. Judge Anthony Marabella rendered the verdict following testimony from former patients who flew in from all over the country to testify against him.
Copes runs a clinic in Baton Rouge which provides braces for Scoliosis patients. David Caldwell, co-prosecutor, along with Butch Wilson, presented evidence showing Copes fraudulently billed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana of more than $88,000. The AG’s office said Copes billed the insurance company for services he was not licensed to render and he expected upfront payments from clients who thought they were seeing a licensed medical doctor, which Copes was not.
Copes was originally arrested on 117 counts by the AG’s office. Prosecutors say these counts represent the entirety of the insurance fraud, which totals more $777,000. Several of the counts covered different instances of fraud on the same form.
This particular trial was specific to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. Other insurance companies outside of Louisiana also have issues with Copes billing practices, the AG’s office said.
Copes faced nine counts of insurance fraud and was found not guilty on count number two because of a question concerning the date on the indictment and the date on the billing paperwork presented at trial.
“This case isn’t just about the insurance dollars it’s about the people from 10 or 12 states who put their hope in Copes for a cure for their scoliosis,” said Caldwell. “Scoliosis is a condition that can only be managed, not cured. So, Copes was selling them false hope at a very high price.”
Sentencing for Copes will be held in Judge Marabella’s courtroom on Nov. 12, 2008. Copes could receive up to five years in prison for each count of insurance fraud.
Source: Louisiana Attorney General’s Office
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