Dr. Charged with Medicare Fraud for Overcharging by $22

Yakima Herald-Republic:  In 2006 federal prosecutors charged Dr. Rosa Martinez with multiple felonies for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid and improperly prescribing controlled narcotics.  She was convicted of eight felony counts, but the judge threw out all of the convictions and ordered a new trial.  Because the doctor had run out of money, she was forced to plead guilty to three misdemeanors involving overcharging by $22.  She was fined $25 for each of the three misdemeanors. The judge said to the doctor in court:

It’s clear to me you are the type of person who believes the medical practice demands spending time with patients.  You seek to provide the best medical treatment for them.

Recently Senator Tom Coburn, one of two physicians in the U.S. Senate, cited studies suggesting that Medicare and Medicaid fraud will cost the government about $100 billion in 2009.  Don’t y0u feel better knowing that Uncle Sam is allocating its scarce resources to prosecute diligently the fraudulent doers?

See also “Probation, Fine, and Financial Ruin: The Penalty for Not Committing a Crime.”