A Miami physician whose patients called him the “Rock Doc” because of his spiked blond hair pleaded guilty to bilking millions of dollars from Medicare and to prescribing unlawful painkillers in federal court Tuesday.
Christopher Gregory Wayne, a 53-year-old osteopathic physician who lived in Miami Beach before his arrest in September, was ordered to pay more than $2 million and turn over his Pine Tree Drive home and 2002 Mercedes-Benz to the U.S. government as part of his plea agreement.
Wayne, now wearing his once punk-style hairdo straight back in a ponytail, agreed to plead guilty to defrauding the taxpayer-funded Medicare program and the new conspiracy charge of writing illegal painkiller prescriptions. The plea agreement, which calls for prosecutors to dismiss 14 healthcare fraud charges filed in a previous indictment, resolved all of his legal problems with the government.
Wayne, who has been held without bond, faces between three and five years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines before U.S. District Judge Robert Scola on May 16.
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“We're very satisfied with this result,” Wayne's attorney, Michael Grieco, said after the plea hearing, noting the ever-escalating punishment for Medicare offenders. “My client is happy to put this behind him.”
According to his plea agreement, Wayne billed Medicare more than $5 million for ultrasounds, massages and other physical therapy services at his North Miami Avenue clinic that were not provided or needed between December 2007 and August 2009. One patient told a federal grand jury that the physician billed Medicare $70 for a June 1, 2009, office visit when she was traveling in Haiti, according to a factual statement filed with the plea deal.
In other instances, Wayne’s unlicensed employees provided the services instead of him, the statement said.
In total, Medicare paid his clinic, Miami Urgent Care and Rehab Center, about $1.9 million.
Wayne also sold large amounts of the painkillers Oxycodone and Endocet to a confidential law enforcement source and an undercover police officer posing as patients at a Davie medical office on three occasions in 2011, according to prosecutors Eric Morales and Brent Tantillo. They said the prescriptions were “not for a legitimate medical purpose.”
The prosecutors said Wayne pocketed a total of $428,000 from the dispensation of “drug cocktails” to patients — “regardless of medical necessity.”
Wayne, who obtained his osteopathic license in 1990, got into trouble dispensing pain killers and other prescription drugs in 2012. That September, the state Department of Health banned him from owning, operating or working in a pain management clinic and from dispensing prescription drugs, such as Oxycodone, Xanax and Flexeril.
His Facebook page said Wayne was working in the emergency room at Larkin Community Hospital in September, when he was arrested by federal agents. The case was investigated by the FBI, Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Wayne, whose fashion choices included 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 Miami Beach home as a production studio for Playboy photo spreads and had posed with celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.