Florida physician gets 7-year sentence for $29M fraud scheme

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A physician who owned and operated a heart institute in Florida was sentenced to seven years in prison for performing unnecessary surgical procedures and defrauding health insurance providers, the Justice Department said Nov. 18.

Prosecutors said Moses deGraft-Johnson, MD, performed hundreds of invasive surgical procedures on patients who didn't need them and also altered patients' medical records to reflect procedures he didn't perform. 

In December 2020, Dr. deGraft-Johnson pleaded guilty to 56 counts of healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft. In the plea deal, Dr. deGraft-Johnson admitted to performing two invasive diagnostic angiography procedures on hundreds of patients even when it was not necessary. He also acknowledged that when the patients returned for follow-up visits, he submitted fraudulent claims to their insurance companies stating he performed atherectomies during the follow-up appointments. He claimed to have performed more than 3,000 of these surgical procedures to clear blockages in arteries in as many as 845 of his patients' legs. 

As a result of the scheme, prosecutors say Dr. deGraft-Johnson submitted false claims from insurers and received at least $29 million.

In addition to the seven-year prison sentence, Dr. deGraft-Johnson was ordered to forfeit a handful of assets like luxury vehicles, jewelry and homes in New York, Miami and Houston. He was also ordered to pay $28.4 million in restitution.

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