- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Prince Frederick physician was indicted Monday by a federal grand jury on charges of illegal distribution of drugs and health care fraud in connection with pain management clinics he operated in Prince Frederick, Waldorf and Greenbelt.
George Mathews, 75, was indicted on 14 charges of distributing and dispensing oxycodone, eight charges of distributing and dispensing methadone and 15 counts of health care fraud.
As a medical doctor, Mathews, according to the indictment, was authorized to dispense medicine, including controlled dangerous substances, to patients for legitimate medical purposes. The indictment alleges that Mathews ran a “pill mill” out of his offices at which individuals could obtain prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone and methadone, for a fee and without any legitimate medical purpose, according to a U.S. District Court of Maryland press release.
The indictment states that from at least 2007 through July 2011, Mathews filed fraudulent insurance claims in a scheme to defraud the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs of the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Postal Service, Medicare, Medicaid and other public and private insurance carriers, according to the press release. Mathews allegedly submitted claims falsely seeking reimbursement for patients’ office visits that never occurred, including billing for an office visit at a time that Mathews had been admitted to the hospital for his own health problems.
Mathews also allegedly fraudulently double billed for his services, collecting a cash payment from a patient for an office visit and later improperly filing a claim for those same services. Mathews, the press release states, also allegedly “upcoded” many of his patients’ office visits, claiming that he had met with the patient for a much longer period of time than he actually had, in order to obtain a higher reimbursement. The indictment states that on more than 250 occasions, Mathews sought reimbursement for services he allegedly rendered in excess of 24 hours in a day.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of at least $3,190,899, which is believed to be the proceeds from the health care fraud scheme. Mathews faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of illegal distribution of drugs and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each count of health care fraud, the press release states.
The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Joanne Yarbrough of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Major Fraud Investigations Division; and Special Agent in Charge Michael S. Barcus, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.
“This indictment marks a significant effort in the ongoing investigation against fraudulent workers’ compensation claims,” Yarbrough said in a written statement. “The workers’ compensation program benefits thousands of postal employees who have received legitimate on-the-job injuries. But false claims by health care providers undermine the system. We appreciate the partnership of the DEA, the U. S. Department of Labor-OIG, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland on this case.”