A onetime medical director of a Hollywood psychiatric facility was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for lying about treating hundreds of patients in a scheme that cost the taxpayer-funded Medicare program $2.9 million.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga also ordered Barry Kaplowitz, a 54-year-old Aventura psychiatrist, to repay Medicare for its loss.
In February, a Miami federal jury convicted Kaplowitz of making false statements related to Medicare billing at Hollywood Pavilion, though the panel acquitted him of the main charge of conspiring to defraud the federal program for the elderly and disabled.
At trial, Justice Department prosecutors proved that Kaplowitz, who worked as a part-time medical director of Hollywood Pavilion’s outpatient facility from 2008 to 2011, signed fraudulent records to make it appear that patients qualified for and received mental health services, even though they did not.
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The evidence showed that Kaplowitz signed medical files for more than 400 patients, certifying that he had provided therapy for each of them — despite treating none. As a result, Hollywood Pavilion’s executives submitted more than 2,800 false claims totaling $5.5 million. Medicare paid $2.9 million.
Five other employees of the Hollywood facility have been convicted and sentenced in the case, including former CEO, Karen Kallen-Zury, who is serving 25 years in prison.