Unlicensed S. Fla. Psychotherapist Arrested for Bilking Patients, Providers

April 7, 2005

Florida insurance fraud investigators have arrested an unlicensed psychotherapist a second time for reportedly practicing psychotherapy without a license and fraudulently billing insurance companies for his services. Lubomir Lacho, a resident of Pompano Beach, Fla. was arrested at New Hope Counseling Center, 3500 N.E. Fifth Ave. It appeared he had a full schedule of patients for the day.

Investigators with the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, arrested and charged Lacho on three counts of insurance fraud, six counts of third-degree grand theft, three counts of second-degree grand theft, six counts of unlicensed practice of mental health counseling/psychotherapy and one count of first-degree organized scheme to defraud.

The charges reflect billings of more than $111,000 to insurance companies and patients. The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association assisted in the investigation.

“These patients were put at risk by not getting the care they really need,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “And this man has clearly shown his intent to operate outside the boundaries of good medicine and the law.”

One patient told investigators that she had been seeing Lacho since her release from a psychiatric hospital. One of the conditions of her release was to see a licensed psychotherapist.

Lacho was booked into the Broward County Jail. If convicted, statutorily he could face up to more than 100 years in prison.

Lacho was arrested on similar charges in February 2004, and the Department of Health issued him a Cease and Desist Order in 1994. The latest investigation was based on information from Aetna, Cigna, and Great West Life & Annuity Insurance Company indicating Lacho misrepresented information on health insurance claims for patients treated.

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