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Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff   
Friday, 24 September 2010 11:39

IOWA: A Cedar Rapids chiropractor has pleaded not guilty to nearly 40 charges of mail fraud, identity theft and money laundering.

Douglas P. Dvorak entered his plea in early October in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

An indictment alleges that 45-year-old Dvorak submitted false Medicaid claims for chiropractic services he never provided. It says he used the identities of underaged Medicaid beneficiaries in his alleged scheme, which officials say lasted from late 2005 to early 2007.

Dvorak also is accused of trying to control and conceal the location of the proceeds of the fraud.

He faces 22 counts of mail fraud, 11 counts of aggravated identity theft and six counts of money laundering.

His trial was scheduled for December 1.

The Associated Press


Chiropractor Agrees to $321,000 Settlement
over Medi-Cal

CALIFORNIA: Oroville chiropractor Steven Horn has agreed to pay federal and state governments a total of $321,726 to settle a civil claim that he charged the Medi-Cal program for a lot more patient visits than the law allows. The program covers up to two chiropractic visits a month for each beneficiary.

Horn, 52, charged Medi-Cal for more than 5,000 visits above the cap, despite his knowledge of the legal limit, according to Assistant U. S. Attorney Catherine Swann.

Medi-Cal is the state’s version of the federal Medicaid program, created by Congress in 1965 to provide payments of medical expenses for low-income patients. In California, the program is funded half with federal funds and half with state funds.

Horn, who operates Chiropractic Health Clinics of California in Oroville, agreed to the settlement, but denies any wrongdoing.

Sacto 9-1-1


Overwhelmed Chiropractor Gets 4 Months
for Alleged $340,000 Theft

PENNSYLVANIA: Chiropractor Matthew Nicastro wept as he begged a Cumberland County judge not to send him to prison for a $340,000 insurance fraud that Nicastro claimed resulted from negligent bookkeeping. "I did not intend to victimize anyone," he told Judge Skip Ebert.

Nicastro, 36, of Boiling Springs, even had two patients, one a high school principal, testify about how well he treated them.

He did squeeze some leniency from Ebert. Although the prosecution demanded a 6-month prison term, Ebert sentenced Nicastro to 4 to 23 months in county prison and fined him $1,500 on charges of insurance fraud and theft by deception.

Nicastro pleaded no contest to the theft and fraud counts in July for what authorities said was a billing scam. Investigators said Nicastro billed insurers multiple times for the same services, billed for work he didn’t perform and charged for ineligible work done by massage therapists.

Defense attorney Heidi F. Eakin said Nicastro has paid more than $318,000 in restitution to Highmark Blue Shield and roughly $22,000 to Erie Insurance. Eakin said she expects the state to suspend indefinitely his license to practice.

Nicastro told Ebert it was all an unintentional mistake. He became overwhelmed at work and allowed his billing system to fall into disarray, he said.

Big Spring High School Principal John Scudder told Ebert that he was "tremendously impressed by the professionalism and integrity" Nicastro exhibited while treating him. "He didn’t press me for extra charges or anything of that sort."

Senior Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey McInroy opposed Nicastro’s and Eakin’s pleas for a probation sentence and urged Ebert to stick with the 6-month prison term set in the July plea deal. That already was less than the 9-month minimum prison term that would be standard for such an offense, he said.

The Patriot News



Jury Convicts Chiropractor of Concealing Property, Making False Declarations and Money Laundering

CALIFORNIA: A jury sitting in the Eastern District of California convicted Thomas M. Klassy on two separate counts of concealing property and making a false declaration in a bankruptcy case and 26 counts of laundering the proceeds of the bankruptcy crimes. Evidence at trial was introduced to show that Klassy falsely denied owning numerous valuable assets during his bankruptcy case including an airplane, a one-third interest in a 220 acre ranch and $205,000 he received from the sale of his chiropractic business. As for the business sale, further evidence showed that Klassy concealed the real $265,000 sale contract and instead produced to the bankruptcy trustee a forged contract purporting to show that the business sold for only $60,000.

The conviction ended a three week trial before U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr., in Sacramento. Klassy is being detained pending sentencing.

The Trinity Journal


Yellow Pages
Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff   
Friday, 24 September 2010 10:44

Chiropractic News Around the World. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly



Healthcare Fraud Sends Three to Jail

GEORGIA: An orthopedic surgeon and chiropractor from metro Atlanta are among a group sentenced to federal prison for a $3 million health-care fraud scam in late November.

Chiropractor, Dr. Arthur Hargraves, 67, of Douglasville, got three years and five months in prison. Dr. Daniel Puffenberger, 52, of Kissimmee, Fla., was sentenced to three years and months in prison.

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Howard Berkowitz, 58, of Atlanta got a sentence of one year and six months in prison, because he accepted responsibility prior to trial, and also assisted the government in the prosecution of the case. Berkowitz has already re-paid the entire $2.5 million restitution owed to the insurance company.

Berkowitz, Hargraves and Puffenberger operated a group of back pain clinics in North Georgia and Tennessee known as the Associated Spinal Care Network (ASCN). The three defendants were convicted of running a fraud scheme involving ASCN’s billing for a back pain procedure known as Vertebral Axial Decompression, or "VAX-D," which is a non-invasive back pain procedure that uses a mechanical table to stretch a patient’s spine. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia considered VAX-D to be investigational and not medically necessary, and made clear to health-care providers that it did not cover the procedure.

ASCN, at the direction of Berkowitz, Hargraves, and Puffenberger, nevertheless, billed Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia for more than $3 million relating to the VAX-D procedure from 2001, through 2005.

Berkowitz, Hargraves, and Puffenberger were convicted of having lied to Blue Cross about what procedures ASCN was performing in order to get paid for this non-covered procedure. Instead of using the specific billing code assigned to VAX-D, ASCN used a different code that pertained to surgical nerve decompression procedures. The defendants used that code because they knew Blue Cross would pay for it, and would not pay for VAX-D.

Atlanta Business Chronicle


Chiropractor Sentenced for Overbilling

CALIFORNIA: A chiropractor from Los Gatos has been sentenced to two years in prison. 42-year-old Robert Demarco pleaded guilty in May to multiple charges of overbilling insurance companies. Demarco owns the Chiropractic Lifecenter of Los Gatos and had been accused of submitting more than $250,000 in bills to insurance companies between 2004 and 2007 for work he did not do.

Nick Muyo of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office says it was Demarco’s patients who tipped off prosecutors. They reported items on their statements that were not included in their treatment, which was covered by their insurance companies.

Silicon Valley News


Chiropractor’s Case Ends in Mistrial

CALIFORNIA: Jury deliberations ended with a mistrial on November 7 in the criminal case of chiropractor Wilmer Origel, who stands accused of performing illegal procedures, over billing insurance companies and money laundering. Jurors deciding the fate of Origel, 48, couldn’t reach a unanimous decision after several days of deliberating, a clerk for the San Joaquin County Superior Court said. The trial began Aug. 19.

The Modesto man faces a prison term on charges stemming from his chain of Med-1 Medical Centers in the Central Valley. He operated one out of his clinic on Wilson Way in Stockton until his 2005.

Prosecutors tried Origel on 11 felony counts. The central charge was that he performed "a controversial procedure called manipulation under anesthetics in which patients are briefly anesthetized to avoid painful adjustments."

Origel appeared in court again on Nov. 20, at which time prosecutors announced they will not retry Origel.

The Stockton Record


Former Maine Chiropractor Sentenced in Tax Case

MAINE: A former Maine chiropractor is going to prison for two years for health care fraud and tax evasion. At his sentencing in late October in federal court in Portland, 53-year-old Steven Amato was also fined $10,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $100,000 to insurance companies.

Until 2005, Amato operated the Center for Alternative Healing in Damariscotta. He now lives in California.

Amato pleaded guilty in June to one count of health care fraud and three counts of income tax evasion. Prosecutors say that during a four-year period, Amato underreported his income by a total of more than $840,000.

He also allegedly submitted false insurance claims for patient visits that never occurred or that exaggerated the time he spent with patients.

Yellow Page
Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff   
Thursday, 23 September 2010 14:46


Bill Would Let Chiropractors Work on Animals

NEBRASKA: Fido could get chiropractic treatment under a bill advanced by state lawmakers.

The bill (LB463) from Sen. Cap Dierks of Ewing would let a chiropractor or other therapist treat an animal. Lawmakers say the bill came about after several chiropractors got cease-and-desist orders, telling them not to practice on animals.

Dierks says he’s seen chiropractic work on dogs with disk problems and nervous horses that are in pain.

The bill won first-round approval in early April. It also permits civil penalties against those who engage in unauthorized veterinary practice.

The Associated Press



Retired U.S. Army General Officer (G.O.) Becky Halstead, First Female Grad of West Point Promoted to G.O. and Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Speaks Out for
Chiropractic Care

CALIFORNIA: The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of chiropractic, announced that Retired U.S. Army General Officer (G.O.) Becky Halstead has agreed to serve as its spokesperson and share with the public her positive experiences with chiropractic care. Halstead served 27 years with the United States Army, is the first female in U.S. history to command in combat at the strategic level by commanding the highest level organization for logistics (3rd Corps Support Command) in the Combat Theater of Iraq, and is a recipient of the 2007 national Women’s History Project Generations of Women Moving History Forward.

Halstead says that the hands-on, active care of doctors of chiropractic and their advice on a healthy lifestyle are essential to our military men and women.

Halstead explains that a chiropractor "… allows me to be part of the solution and encourages me to be part of my own wellness plan. One of the greatest emotions in the world is relief, and that is exactly what my chiropractor provides me—a tremendous amount of relief from my pain."

"It is both an honor and pleasure to welcome General Halstead as a supporter," says Kent S. Greenawalt, president of the Foundation. "Halstead exemplifies extraordinary service to this nation, and her participation as a spokesperson is a compelling message to professionals and patients, alike."


Jurors Find No Evidence of Neglect in Suit against
Community Chiropractic Center

TEXAS: A woman who sought a neck adjustment then turned and sued the chiropractor for "unwanted, intrusive contact," left the Jefferson County courthouse empty handed Wednesday, April 15, as a jury found no negligence on the chiropractor’s part.

As the Record has reported, LaDonna Burge—who claimed she had an adjustment done "against her will"—filed suit in June 2007 against Dr. Scott Kerr, owner of the Community Chiropractic Center, and his colleague Dr. Ken Arola.

Before performing an adjustment, Drs. Kerr and Arola requested that Burge obtain permission from her surgeon. When the surgeon gave her the green light, Kerr and Arola consented to the adjustment and Burge submitted to two sessions in early December 2006.

A few months later, Burge, the receptionist for Community Chiropractic, filed a lawsuit against the chiropractic center, Kerr and Arola in Jefferson County, claiming the adjustments were performed "against her will" and had worsened her already traumatized neck.

During opening statements, plaintiff’s attorney Mike Pierce said Arola failed to exercise good judgment by consenting to Burge’s requested adjustment and is, therefore, negligent.

The plaintiff argued that a prudent chiropractor would know that an adjustment on someone who had recently undergone spinal surgery should not be done until the fused vertebrae were solid—which can take up to one year. However, court documents show Community Chiropractic Center professionals did X-ray Burge and determined that the fused vertebrae were solid before performing the adjustment.

But jurors found no evidence that Dr. Arola was negligent, and awarded Burge nothing.


Simsbury Chiropractor Gets Six Weeks in Jail for Fraud

CONNECTICUT: Eugene Bolognese, a Simsbury chiropractor, pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to a single count of health care fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

From August 2005 to December 2007, Bolognese employed two physicians in his practice and used their provider numbers to file claims for services on days they did not work. The fraudulent claims, Bolognese admitted, amounted to $573,036.

The government asked for a prison sentence of 30 to 37 months to penalize Bolognese for his conduct and to set an example. Bolognese’s attorneys argued for no prison. They said his conduct was a result of his poor business management skills and his reliance on someone else to do his billing. They also claimed a prison sentence would harm his young children and his patients, and diminish his ability to make restitution.

Prosecutors objected to U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton’s sentence of six weeks. Bolognese will also be on probation for three years after his release.

Bolognese, in addition to agreeing to make restitution to Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has agreed to sell the building that housed another of his businesses and to turn that money over to the government go toward restitution.

Bolognese, 37, has also placed his home on the market to cover the restitution. He’s asking $1.049 million.

Yellow Page
Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff   
Thursday, 23 September 2010 14:27

Indio Chiropractor Accused of Sexually Assaulting Patients

CALIFORNIA: A chiropractor who practices in Indio was arrested in mid February on suspicion of sexually assaulting patients while performing medical examinations. Stuart Greenwood, 58, of Apple Valley, was arrested without incident at his office, said Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron. His arrest followed an investigation by Indio police and the California State Board of Chiropractic Examiners into four reports of sexual assaults allegedly committed by Greenwood, Guitron said. Indio police Detective Eric Longoria, who prepared the declaration, said the first alleged victim reported she saw Greenwood on June 7, 2006 at his Indio office for a neck injury. Greenwood allegedly told the woman she may “have another problem aside from the neck injury, and walked outside of the room, as if seeing if anybody was watching.” He then allegedly touched her inappropriately, but she stopped him and asked what he was doing, Longoria wrote. The second report involved a June 27, 2006, incident involving an employee who worked at Greenwood’s office, according to the detective. The employee said she was feeling pain in her back and asked the chiropractor to examine her, Longoria said. The woman told the detective that Greenwood asked her to take off her clothes and put on a robe. During the examination, Greenwood allegedly told the woman he was going to check her for a yeast infection and then touched her inappropriately. The woman said that when she asked him to stop Greenwood allegedly told her it was part of the examination. He again touched her inappropriately, officials said, adding that he claimed the touching would “make your back problems go away.” Greenwood also asked the employee out on a date and made numerous comments about her having sex with him, which she declined, according to Longoria. my


Chiropractor Pleads Not Guilty in Killing of 79-year-old Stamford Man

CONNECTICUT: Florida chiropractor William Lindemann was arrested and charged with the beating death of an elderly Connecticut man on January 27, 2009. The 47-year-old Lindemann was taken into custody by police in Naples, Florida, on February 20, 2009. Authorities say Lindemann attacked 79-year-old Herbert Davidson in a Stamford, Connecticut, parking garage. Lindemann was initially charged with first-degree assault. The charge was upgraded following the death of Herbert Davidson. Lindemann pleaded not guilty to both charges in state Superior Court in Stamford. He was released on $1 million bail and was forced to surrender his passport. Police believe Lindemann killed Davidson with one punch, knocking him to the ground and causing severe brain injuires. Davidson spent more than three weeks in a coma before succumbing to his injuries on Sunday, February 22. In 1997, Lindemann was indicted on fraud charges after a federal investigation in Brooklyn, N.Y., linked him to insurance schemes involving organized crime figures, according to published reports. In the schemes, insurance was collected for patient visits that never took place or for treatments never given, and medical information was provided for false claims in lawsuits. According to information on the Web site of the New York state Office of the Professions, Lindemann’s license was suspended in 2001 for 24 months, and he was placed on probation for three years. Lindemann admitted to having been convicted of seven counts of felony mail fraud, according to the Web site. Davidson raised five children in Stamford and had seven grandchildren, his son said. He lived in Stamford for nearly 40 years and spent his career as an engineer in the defense industry.


Chiropractor and Patient Settle Lawsuit over Stroke

CANADA: More than seven years after Les Limage was paralyzed by a stroke, a lawsuit against a chiropractor who adjusted his neck has quietly been settled. “It’s finally over for them. They can rest now,’’ Limage’s lawyer, Amani Oakley, said of Limage and his wife. A gag order imposed as part of the settlement means she can’t reveal any details. Limage and his wife, Florence, who now live in Cambridge, were suing Waterloo chiropractor George Hickson for over $5 million. The trial was to start in late March in Superior Court in Kitchener. But a meeting between the parties resulted in the settlement just prior. In his statement of claim, Limage alleged the stroke he suffered on Dec. 5, 2001, was caused by a neck adjustment Hickson had performed several days earlier. Limage, then 66, first visited Hickson in late November, complaining of hip pain. It was during his third visit that Hickson manipulated Limage’s neck. Both the statement of claim and the statement of defense contain allegations that have not been proven in court. Because the case never got to trial, the allegations will remain just that. It’s almost certain a trial would have put the controversy over the safety of chiropractic treatment in the spotlight again. Critics say that, although rare, neck adjustments are risky and can result in strokes. Chiropractors maintain they are safe. “This was an extremely stressful period of their lives,’’ Oakley said. “Les, in particular, this was very hard on him.’’

The Good The Bad And The Ugly
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Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff   
Thursday, 23 September 2010 11:26

Tax Evasion—Not a Good Idea

MAINE: A Bangor chiropractor pleaded guilty recently in U.S. District Court to tax evasion one week before his jury trial was scheduled to begin. Dr. Richard J. Thomas, 64, was indicted more than three years ago on six counts of tax evasion between 1995 and 2001.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Thomas admitted to evading paying federal income taxes in 2001. The counts covering the previous years are expected to be dropped after the chiropractor is sentenced.

Thomas also agreed to waive his right to appeal the sentence if it does not exceed 18 months.

The chiropractor could be ordered to pay back taxes for all six years. Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy estimated that Thomas owed between $200,000 and $400,000 in back taxes.

Thomas is free to dispute that figure at his sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock told him.

In pleading guilty, Thomas conceded that the government would be able to prove he did not have a "good faith basis" for refusing to file federal tax returns or pay taxes. In addition, the chiropractor admitted using a number of deceptive techniques to attempt to dupe the government, according to court documents.

Bangor Daily News


Health Care Fraud Doesn’t Pay

CONNECTICUT: The owner of a chiropractic business in Simsbury pleaded guilty in late January in federal court in New Haven to health care fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Eugene Bolognese, 36, of Teachers Turn, Simsbury, waived his right to an indictment and entered his plea before Judge Janet Bond Arterton, acting U.S. Attorney Nora R. Dannehy said.

According to Dannehy, Bolognese at various times employed two physicians in his chiropractic practice. Bolognese submitted fraudulent claims to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield using the physicians’ provider numbers. The claims were for services and procedures purportedly rendered by the physicians on days when the physicians were not at the office.

Dannehy said Bolognese admitted receiving $573,036 as a result of this scheme, and he has agreed to pay restitution in this amount to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Bolognese faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of as much as $250,000.

Hartfort Courant


Two Patients of Corte Madera Chiropractor Seek Refunds in Small Claims Court

CALIFORNIA: Two former patients took a Corte Madera chiropractor to small claims court in late January, alleging false advertising and scare tactics and demanding refunds.

Chiropractor Donald Harte denied the allegations, calling the hearing a "malicious show."

Gertrude West of Larkspur said Harte lured her into his practice with false advertising, used scare tactics to get her to sign a long-term contract and refused to refund her money when her condition failed to improve.

Victoria Pollock-Grasso of Tiburon objected to Harte charging her a $559 administrative fee when she decided to stop receiving adjustments from him. Grasso said she stopped seeing Harte because an orthopedist she went to for a second opinion informed her she had degenerative disc disease in her cervical spine and that Harte’s manipulation of her neck could cause her to have a stroke.

Most of the hearing focused on West, who is seeking a full refund of the more than $6,000 she paid Harte since beginning treatments in March 2008. West, 76, said Harte attracted her into his care with a "misleading" ad that appeared in a local weekly newspaper. She said Harte also miscalculated what she owes him and overcharged her by $353.

In the ad, Harte stated that patients had come to him with a long list of symptoms. West was seeking relief from painful arthritic knees. A surgical partial replacement of one knee in 2005 had not improved her condition.

The California Board of Chiropractic Examiners, which regulates chiropractors in California, notified Harte in 2004 that a similar ad violated state regulations and ordered him to stop using it. Harte responded by launching a counterattack against the board’s enforcement officers. He asserted the board was persecuting him and other "straight" chiropractors.

West said she took advantage of a "special offer" that Harte made to new patients. For $47, she received an examination, spinal X-ray and a "neurological scan."

West said Harte told her that the X-rays revealed severe spinal degeneration of her neck and low back.

"I see now that these statements were nothing but scare tactics designed to induce me to sign the contract," she said.

West said Harte told her he wouldn’t treat her unless she signed a long-term contract, so she paid $6,354 in advance for 100 visits. But when her knee pain failed to improve after 49 visits over four months, West decided to stop the treatments and requested a partial refund.

West said Harte refused, asserting that she violated a clause in her contract that requires "general adherence to the proposed schedule of care, and home care," because she interrupted her treatments with several weeks of vacation.

Marin Independent Journal


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