Baton Rouge doctor indicted in $4.4M scheme to submit false claims to Medicare

Updated: Jul. 13, 2017 at 4:06 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A federal grand jury has indicted a Baton Rouge doctor and another individual with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and healthcare fraud.

Officials with the Department of Justice say Dr. John Eastham Clark, 65, and Charlene Anita Severio, 54, of Walker, allegedly conspired in a $4.4 million scheme to submit false claims to Medicare and other private insurance companies on behalf of Louisiana Spine & Sports, llc., which is a pain management clinic in Baton Rouge that is co-owned by Dr. Clark.

According to the indictment, Dr. Clark and his billing supervisor, Severio, falsified claims indicating that some minor surgical procedures happened on separate days as patient visits, then told employees to create false records to support those claims. The indictment also alleges that Dr. Clark and Severio submitting false claims so they could be reimbursed for medically unnecessary urinalysis tests.

Both Dr. Clark and Severio are charged with two counts each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and healthcare fraud. Dr. Clark is additionally charged with another two counts of healthcare fraud.

"Our medical providers spend countless hours caring for our everyday ailments, improving and extending our lives, and often fighting for us in our most desperate hours. They are rightly viewed as some of the most trusted and respected members of our society. Too often, the few dishonest providers hijack this well-earned respect and trust to line their own pockets through fraud. My office, which has sent nearly 50 healthcare fraud defendants to federal prison since the inception of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, will continue to work tirelessly with our outstanding federal, state, and local partners to root out these bad actors. I greatly appreciate all those who have contributed to this important and successful law enforcement effort," said Acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson.

This case is part of the 2017 National Healthcare Fraud Takedown, where federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies announced charges for more than 400 defendants across 41 different districts around the country.

"The success of this initiative shows that collaboration between law enforcement agencies at all levels combats crime. Our investigators work around the clock to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicaid. My office and I are committed to doing all we can to save taxpayer money and protect this program for the people in our state that need it most. I am proud of the results our team achieved during this operation and what we do daily to reduce Medicaid fraud," said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

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