Long Island Doctor Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud and Obstruction of Medicare Audit
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, Melvin Cwibeker, a doctor of chiropractic medicine from Nassau County, New York, pled guilty to healthcare fraud and obstruction of a federal audit, and he agreed to pay restitution and a $500,000 forfeiture.
The plea was announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Scott Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, Health of Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), New York Region.
“Dr. Cwibeker violated his oath and the law by hiring individuals to create fictitious patient records which were submitted to Medicare to obstruct its audit of his chiropractic billings,” stated Acting United States Attorney Currie. “Health care providers who falsely bill for care are on notice that they will face serious consequences.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez stated, “Financial crimes, like the ones allegedly committed by Dr. Cwibeker when he fictitiously billed Medicare for treatments not provided, may appear victimless. However, these crimes impact society, through rising costs and diminishing services provided. By allegedly profiting over $4.3 million through illegitimate claims, Dr. Cwibeker put greed above his license and patient care.”
“Dr. Cwibeker engaged in a greed-fueled fraud scheme that undermined our health care system and the vulnerable individuals it serves,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Lampert. “HHS-OIG, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously pursue those who steal from government health programs for personal gain.”
Between 2006 and 2012, Dr. Cwibeker and his co-conspirators fraudulently billed Medicare more than $7 million for treatments never given to residents of assisted living facilities, and Dr. Cwibeker received over $4.5 million from such billings. On one day alone, New Year’s Eve in 2006, Dr. Cwibeker billed Medicare for chiropractic treatments he purportedly gave to 133 patients at various assisted living facilities. Between 2009 and 2012, Dr. Cwibeker employed three other chiropractors to provide chiropractic care to residents of adult homes and assisted living facilities in Brooklyn, Queens, and Westchester—and trained those chiropractors not to provide the patient care that was required under Medicare. Those three chiropractors were indicted with Dr. Cwibeker and previously pled guilty to health care fraud charges. Each time Dr. Cwibeker was audited by Medicare, he hired others to create fictitious patient records to support his earlier billings and then then sent the fictitious records to Medicare.
Dr. Cwibeker is scheduled to be sentenced on November 6, 2015 before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert, and he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison together with restitution, a forfeiture of $500,000, and potential fines of twice the gross gain from his scheme.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Charles P. Kelly and Senior Investigation Counsel Burton T. Ryan, Jr. are in charge of the prosecution.
- Name: MELVIN CWIBEKER
- Age: 60
- Residence: Cedarhurst, New York
- E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 12-CR-632 (JS)