2 Louisiana physicians sentenced for roles in $50M Medicare fraud scheme

Two physicians and a registered nurse have been sentenced for their roles in a $50 million Medicare fraud scheme, which federal prosecutors said involved multiple companies over the course of more than 10 years, according to the Department of Justice.

Roy Berkowitz, MD, of Slidell, La., received a five-year sentence, Barbara Smith, MD, of Metairie, La., received a sentence of more than 6 years, and a nurse in New Orleans, Beverly Breaux, RN, was handed a sentence of more than four years. All three were previously convicted for their involvement in the fraud scheme after a five-day jury trial in May.

Evidence presented at trial showed Drs. Berkowtiz and Smith falsely claimed that thousands of Medicare recipients were homebound and required nursing or therapy services to be provided in their homes. Ms. Breaux falsely certified that these patients were homebound and falsely claimed to have treated patients she had not seen, according to the DOJ.

Drs. Berkowitz and Smith and Ms. Breaux were ordered to pay $4.9 million, $9.4 million and $2 million in restitution, respectively.

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