Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Former Bryan Licensed Counselor Sentenced in Medicaid Billing SchemeBRYAN – A Brazos County state district judge sentenced a former licensed professional counselor to 60 days in jail and 10 years probation for defrauding the Medicaid system. The defendant, who billed Medicaid and received reimbursements, must pay almost $30,000 in restitution to the government for counseling services he never actually rendered.
Michael J. Bartos III, 60, pled guilty to second-degree felony theft charges. In addition to the sentence and restitution, Bartos was ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 fine. He is permanently prohibited from performing services for Medicaid, Medicare or other governmental health care program.
In a related matter, Bartos also pled guilty to a third-degree felony for his involvement in a fraudulent scheme to falsify documents. According to investigators, Bartos falsified certain information in order to benefit from unemployment insurance. As a result, he was ordered to pay $10,500 in restitution to the Texas Workforce Commission.
State investigators discovered that Bartos kept inadequate records on at least 140 clients. For example, Bartos had no records for more than 50 of his clients, but he still billed Medicaid for those counseling sessions. Investigators focused on more than 500 claims and bills totaling nearly $30,000, which were for counseling services Bartos never performed.
In 2006 alone, the Texas Medicaid program cost more than $17 billion. As the state’s chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Abbott has dramatically expanded the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) to save taxpayer dollars by rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system.
The MFCU established field offices in Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, San Antonio and Tyler through authorization and funding from the 78th Legislature. It works with federal, state and local agencies across the state to identify and prosecute those who defraud the Medicaid program.
To obtain more information about the Attorney General’s efforts to fight Medicaid fraud, access the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.