Leonard Langman, M.D. Pleads Guilty to Medicare and Health Care Fraud – What motivated his behavior?

July 11, 2011

For those physicians who provide health care to patients who are covered by Medicare, Workman’s Comp. or other similar types of services, has it become so restrictive that the reduced fees earned is forcing physicians to turn to illegal activities to compensate?

I suspect that as you read this your first reaction is What?  What a reach and crazy question…  But, before your read the account of the doctor who could receive 10 years in Federal Prison below – think about what comes together to create a fraud.  As a business ethics and fraud prevention speaker, I see, all to often, that when three things come together: (1) Need; (2) Opportunity and (3) Rationalization – it creates the PERFECT STORM for fraud.  To be clear, just because those three things are present does not mean that Fraud will occur, rather it means that the conditions are right for the ethical person to make the unethical choice that can lead to illegal activities and fraud.  As I speak to groups internationally the significant question that comes up is not what happened – that is generally evident by the facts, but rather what motivated the perpetrators behavior in the first place?

I don’t know what motivated Leonard Langman, M.D. but you can take to the bank (not literally as Dr. Langman did) that there was some need that was the spark that motivated his behavior.  The question is what?  Read the US Attorney’s news release below for details and perhaps you can comment on his motivation…

PRESS RELEASE

BROOKLYN NEUROLOGIST PLEADS GUILTY IN HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME

WASHINGTON – Leonard Langman, M.D., a neurologist who owned and operated a Brooklyn, N.Y., medical clinic pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to defraud Medicare; the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP); the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (NYS-WCB); the New York State Insurance Fund (SIF) and various private health insurance carriers, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.

Dr. Langman pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto in Brooklyn to one count of health care fraud.

According to court documents, from January 2006 to December 2009, Dr. Langman caused false and fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare, OWCP, NYC-WCB, SIF and others.  Langman submitted claims for services that were not provided; misrepresented the services he provided by billing for a level of service higher than that which he performed; double-billed different health care benefit programs for the same service provided to the same beneficiary; and billed for services purportedly performed when he was out of the country.

At sentencing, Dr. Langman faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 2, 2011.

The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch for the Eastern District of New York and Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney James Hayes of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  HHS-OIG, the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and the New York State Workers Compensation Board, Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation.  The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,000 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

If you have insight into this case…please share your thoughts.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!