Broward County

This doctor signed off on hundreds of medical tests. Treatment wasn’t the reason

Miramar doctor Joaquin Mendez was sentenced to four years in federal prison and over $2 million in restitution for his role in a $5.5 million healthcare fraud.
Miramar doctor Joaquin Mendez was sentenced to four years in federal prison and over $2 million in restitution for his role in a $5.5 million healthcare fraud.

A Miramar doctor has been sentenced in federal court for his part in a $5.5 million healthcare fraud case.

Court documents don’t say how much Dr. Joaquin Mendez received from Boynton Beach’s Kenneth Chatman. What Mendez got from U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks last week was four years in prison and a $2,198,520 restitution order.

What he got in October from the Department of Health after his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud was an administrative complaint, the first step in possibly removing the medical license Mendez obtained 17 years ago.

As medical director of Chatman’s Reflections Treatment Center, Mendez should have been responsible for patient diagnosis and care. Instead, Chatman “dictated the type and frequency of different types of lab testing that would be performed based upon the kickbacks and bribes that he was receiving from different clinical laboratories,” he admitted in court documents.

Chatman lacks a medical license or medical training. He does have a home for the next 27 years, the FCI Coleman Medium federal prison in Sumterville, after his guilty pleas in the scheme. His wife, Laura Chatman, is doing federal time also for her role.

Chatman needed Mendez to sign off on the testing so he could bill insurance companies or the federal government.

In one case, Mendez felt Chatman owed him money, so he withheld his signature. Court documents say “Chatman eventually paid Mendez, resolving the financial dispute, which resulted in Mendez electronically signing hundreds of test results without conducting any substantive review or using those results to direct treatment.”

Everyone got paid. Now, everyone is in jail.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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