A Toms River man who admitted to unlawfully treating hundreds of elderly patients was sentenced to four years in prison today.
Federal investigators said the man created a medical practice and employed nurses and doctors to make visits, but failed to pay them, and eventually visited patients himself under his employees' names though he was not a doctor.
Patrick Lynch, 55, pleaded guilty to the federal charges and faces a 48-month sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan, announced U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
Lynch was sentenced today to 48 months in prison for unlawfully treating patients, prescribing medicine and ordering procedures while posing as a licensed physician with an Ocean County medical practice in a Medicare fraud scheme, Fishman announced in a news release.
Lynch worked through the Toms River-based Visiting Doctors of New Jersey.
According to the federal indictment, Lynch set up the practice and hired licensed physicians and nurse practitioners to make visits. "Lynch then carried on the business by posing as the licensed professionals, using their names and government-issued identification numbers to write prescriptions and submit billings to Medicare," according to the indictment.
Fishman said hundreds of claims were billed to Medicare for visits to elderly patients, most of them home-bound. One of the doctors who was a victim of identity theft was Dr. Andrew Nelson, a licensed physician. Fishman said Lynch assumed the identity of the licensed individuals and then made visits and billed Medicare.
Lynch pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated identity theft and Medicare fraud — one count each — and in addition to the prison time was ordered to the following:
Judge Sheridan sentenced Lynch to serve two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $40,000 in restitution to Medicare for the payments he received from the fraudulent bills he submitted. The judge also ordered Lynch to participate in alcohol/drug/mental health/gambling treatment and imposed restrictions on gambling and selfemployment.
Among the investigating agencies were the Ocean County Prosecutors Office, Toms River Police Department, the Red Bank office of the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Office of Inspector General.