BROOKLYN, NY — A Long Island chiropractor was charged with health care fraud, the United States Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
Joseph Stephan, 50, of Farmingdale, submitted false claims to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers Compensation Programs for work not actually performed, prosecutors said. Stephan was arrested Wednesday morning and is slated to make his first court appearance in the afternoon.
If convicted, Stephan faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Seth D. DuCharme, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Michael Mikulka, special agent-in-charge, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; and Matthew Modafferi, special agent-in-charge, United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, announced the arrest and charges.
“As alleged, Stephan abused the trust of an important federal benefit program for employees injured on the job by billing for numerous fraudulent claims, including those for an undercover Special Agent investigating the defendant,” DuCharme said in a news release. “This Office will continue working closely with our law enforcement partners to hold healthcare providers accountable for fraud and abuse.”
Stephan has been enrolled in workers compensation program since 2008, officials said. Certain federal employees, including those of the U.S. Postal Service who become disabled due to on-the-job injuries, qualify for benefits, prosecutors said.
Stephan fraudulently billed the program for services provided to patients on dates they did not visit him, as well as services he did not provide during their visits, authorities said. The chiropractor also fraudulently billed the program for services provided to a special agent of the USPS Office of the Inspector General who posed as a postal employee 23 times when the undercover agent did not have an appointment or meet with him, prosecutors said.
“Medical providers who submit false claims to (the workers compensation program) and other federal health care programs for medically unnecessary services are putting illegal profits above patients’ safety,” Mikulka said. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and OWCP to protect the integrity of DOL’s benefit programs.”