Fla. Podiatrist Feeling Ill After Scam Busted

March 30, 2005

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist announced that his office arrested a Tampa podiatrist for defrauding more than $120,000 from the state’s Medicaid program by filing more than 6,800 false claims to the program.

Dr. Donald Beckett was charged with Medicaid provider fraud, grand theft and identity theft. Crist also filed a civil action against the doctor under the Florida False Claims Act.

According to investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Beckett is a licensed podiatrist authorized to treat wounds below the hip. Beckett hired medical doctors to review treatment notes taken by nurses who provided wound care above the hip and then used those physicians’ treating provider numbers as if they had treated the patients. A doctor is not entitled to bill Medicaid under a physician’s provider number for services that were provided by nurses unless the physician directly supervises the nurses. Beckett reportedly did not inform the physicians that their names were recorded as the treating providers.

Beckett was arrested by investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The criminal case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution. If convicted, Beckett could face up to 10 years in state prison. The civil action seeks triple damages and $10,000 for each of more than 6,800 false claims submitted.

A copy of the civil complaint against Becket is available at: http://myfloridalegal.com/BeckettComplaint.pdf

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