Miami Beach’s ‘Rock Doc’ plans to plead guilty to Medicare fraud

Dr. Christopher G. Wayne talks on the phone in his house in Miami Beach in December 2010.
Dr. Christopher G. Wayne talks on the phone in his house in Miami Beach in December 2010.
For The Wall Street Journal / ALEXIA FODERE

The “Rock Doc” of Miami Beach plans to plead guilty to swindling millions from Medicare.

Christopher Gregory Wayne, an osteopathic physician accused of submitting bogus bills to the taxpayer-funded program, told a federal judge Tuesday that he was “agreeable” to doing a plea deal.

But, without his defense lawyer present, Wayne blurted out that he wanted to talk with the prosecutor in his case “because I know that I’m guilty but there are some extenuating circumstances.”

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola advised Wayne “to be careful what you say,” then scheduled his change of plea hearing for Feb. 4.

Wayne has been held without bond at a Miami federal detention center since his arrest on healthcare fraud charges in late September. He pleaded not guilty to charges of submitting false claims for physical therapy treatments, such as massages and electrical stimulation, at his former Miami clinic.

At a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, Wayne questioned the prosecution’s assertion that he tried to steal as much as $5 million from the Medicare program. The government’s loss amount would greatly influence his prison sentence, which could range between six and eight years.

“This matter will likely be resolved in a plea,” the doctor’s defense attorney, Michael Grieco, said Wednesday. “The specifics have not been inked yet.”

At his bail hearing in October, federal prosecutor Eric Morales argued that Wayne filed almost $5 million in false claims for various physical therapy treatments in 2007-09 and was paid $1.7 million by Medicare.

The prosecutor said Wayne, whose patients dubbed him the “Rock Doc” because of his punk-style hairdo, submitted bills for 500 physical therapy sessions a day on average in 2008 — a mathematical impossibility.

Some patients told the federal grand jury that his therapy services were a “joke,” the prosecutor said, adding that the treatments were sometimes provided by Wayne's unlicensed “office girls.”

An indictment shows Wayne was charged with 15 counts of Medicare fraud by submitting “false claims” for treating a handful of patients. Each claim was relatively small: 15-minute massages ($25), electrical stimulation ($20) and ultrasounds ($15).

But the indictment also accuses Wayne of systematic abuse by “falsely and fraudulently representing that these treatments and services were medically necessary and had been provided to Medicare beneficiaries” between December 2007 and August 2009.

Wayne, who has sported punkish hair along with chains, bangles and leather bracelets in the past, has been in the public eye before as a focus of a Wall Street Journal profile in December 2010.

According to the profile, he had used his Pine Tree Island home in Miami Beach as a production studio for Playboy photo spreads and had posed with celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category