TRENTON – A "mobile" dentist who fraudulently billed nursing homes and elderly patients for work that was not done in some cases will spend the next eight years in prison and must pay $7 million in restitution, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said.
Stephen Beukas, 52, – owner of the now-defunct New Jersey Mobile Dental, P.A. – and his staff overbilled or submitted false Medicaid claims for elderly patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care facilities and private homes between Jan. 1, 2003 and Aug. 1, 2009, Porrino said.
"Dr. Beukas used his mobile medical services company to gain access to vulnerable patients who needed on-site dental care, and then treated them as pawns in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from Medicaid," Porrino said. "The stiff sentence he received today sends a clear message that we will not allow crooked medical professionals to siphon public funds from those who truly need them."
Beukas and six of his employees – including four dentists – were indicted in 2013. Beukas pleaded guilty in September to second-degree misconduct by a corporate official, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Charges against four other dentists are pending and six have already pleaded guilty to criminal accusations.
Beukas and other defendants are charged with stealing $5,548,822 from the state Medicaid program.
"It is alleged that on numerous occasions, the defendants overbilled Medicaid for more services than the mobile dentists could have possibly rendered in one day," Porrino said. "The defendants also allegedly billed for specific dental services that were not actually performed by the dentists."
The company also added a "behavior management" charge on almost every patient, even if it was not needed, and a "trip charge" to almost every Medicaid patient, even though the dentists were only entitled to one trip to a facility, regardless of how many patients were examined or treated.
"This defendant played a key role in the blatant theft of Medicaid funding through fraud," said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu. "We will continue to investigate and prosecute these cases to protect New Jersey’ s most vulnerable residents from exploitation and to preserve the Medicaid funding they rely on."
The investigation began when the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit uncovered the company’s suspicious billing for Medicaid patients. The investigation included undercover surveillance and an execution of a search warrant at its Colts Neck office.
Iu noted that some important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at www.njinsurancefraud.org.
State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.
Photo: Courtesy of New Jersey Attorney General’s Office