New Jersey physician arrested in $20M telemedicine fraud scheme

Julie Spitzer - Print  | 

Burlington, N.J., officials charged Bernard Ogon, MD, for his role in a $20 million telemedicine fraud scheme in which he allegedly prescribed expensive medications to patients who did not need them, according to a Nov. 16 news release.

Various unnamed telemedicine companies allegedly paid Dr. Ogon to prescribe expensive compounded medications, such as pain creams, scar creams, migraine creams and metabolic supplements, or "wellness capsules," to patients regardless of whether they were medically necessary.

Dr. Ogon reportedly signed these prescriptions without establishing any prior relationship with the patient, and without speaking with the patient or conducting a medical evaluation. He also signed prescriptions for patients in states he was not licensed to practice in.

The signed prescriptions were sent to pharmacies that Dr. Ogon or other entities involved in the scheme had relationships with. Those pharmacies allegedly filled the prescriptions and billed the patients' health plans regardless of medical necessity.

The telemedicine companies allegedly paid Dr. Ogon between $20 and $30 per prescription. Dr. Ogon's role in the scheme cost healthcare benefit programs more than $20 million, at least $3 million of which was sustained by TRICARE, a program for members of the military and their families.

If convicted, Dr. Ogon faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

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