A doctor and his chiropractor son were sentenced to prison today for conspiring to defraud Medicare by using unqualified people to give physical therapy to Medicare recipients, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
According to officials, Robert Claude McGrath D.O., 66, and his son Robert Christopher McGrath, 48, both of Cherry Hill, were sentenced to 30 and 12 months in prison, respectively. Both defendants previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler to separate informations charging them each with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Judge Kugler imposed both sentences today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The McGraths owned and operated Atlantic Spine & Joint Institute, a medical practice with offices in Westmont, New Jersey, and Wayne, Pennsylvania. Under Medicare rules, physical therapy had to be provided by Robert Claude McGrath or by a trained physical therapist under his supervision.
However, from January 2011 through April 2016, the McGraths sought to defraud Medicare by employing unlicensed, untrained persons to give physical therapy to Medicare patients, at times when Robert Claude McGrath was not even in the office to supervise. They then submitted bills to Medicare fraudulently identifying Robert Claude McGrath as the provider of physical therapy.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Kugler sentenced both defendants to three years of supervised release and ordered them to pay restitution of $890,000.
In a related civil settlement that was announced at the time of their guilty pleas, the McGraths and Atlantic Spine agreed to pay $1.78 million plus interest to the federal government to resolve allegations that the fraudulent bills submitted under the McGraths’ scheme caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare in violation of the False Claims Act.
The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office reorganized its health care practice in 2010 and created a stand-along Health Care and Government Fraud Unit to handle both criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud offenses. Since that time, the office has recovered more than $1.33 billion in health care and government fraud settlements, judgments, fines, restitution and forfeiture under the False Claims Act, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and other statutes.