Michigan Doctor Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 04, 2013|
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Fitzgerald Anthony Hudson, 53, of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Chief Judge William M. Skretny to health care fraud. The fraud related to the defendant lying about his qualifications to practice medicine. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that in August 2008, the defendant submitted an application to Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, New York, for appointment to the medical staff. Prior to that, Hudson was an undergraduate student at York University in Ontario, Canada, from September 1987 to August 1990; however, the defendant did not obtain enough credits to graduate and did not earn a bachelor’s degree. The defendant then attended medical school at Ross University, after which he worked in the Warren Hospital Family Practice Residency Program in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, from July 2002 until July 2003. At that time, Hudson was suspended from his duties as a resident and dismissed from the residency program due to academic incompetence. This means, in essence, that the defendant never received his medical degree or license and was not legally qualified to practice medicine.
During the course of this prosecution, the government presented evidence that while employed at Jones Memorial Hospital, Hudson treated a 5-year-old child who subsequently died shortly after being treated by the defendant. That case is now the subject of an ongoing wrongful death civil suit in state court.
In addition, from February 2008 to June 2008, the defendant was employed at the Emergency Department at the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, New York. Hudson resigned in June 2008 due to an unfavorable incident.
“Each and every day, millions of Americans entrust their health to the care of trained medical professionals,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “By misrepresenting his background and education, this defendant put in danger the lives of those who came to him seeking emergency care. This office will continue to vigorously prosecute all fraud, particularly where such crime affects that which is most precious to us all—our health.”
In the application the defendant submitted to Jones Memorial Hospital, he (a) indicated that he disassociated with the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center because it was “too far away”; (b) indicated that he had never been denied or had suspended or restricted completion of training or certification of completion of training by any healthcare facility; and (c) stated that he earned a bachelor’s degree from York University. Hudson was aware of the false statements and representations at the time he made them and acted knowingly and willfully in submitting the false application to Jones Memorial Hospital.
As a result of the defendant’s false application for medical staff appointment, Hudson was granted privileges at Jones Memorial Hospital in Emergency Medicine. Between August 2008 and November 2009, the defendant worked as a physician at the Emergency Department at Jones Memorial Hospital and, based on that work, payments totaling approximately $227,548.35 were received from Medicare, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Univera Healthcare, and Independent Health for services rendered by the defendant.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Richard M. Frankel, Acting Special Agent in Charge; special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, under the direction of Thomas O’Donnell, Special Agent in Charge; and investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 9, 2013, at 9 a.m. before Judge Skretny.