CAMDEN — A pain management doctor with an office in Northfield was charged in a $24.6 million billing fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Monday.
Morris Antebi, 68, of Long Branch, Monmouth County, who also specializes in anesthesia and has offices throughout South Jersey, is charged with three counts of health care fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud for his role in the scheme, Carpenito said in a news release.
Antebi has offices in Northfield, Vineland, Cape May Court House and Toms River, according to court documents.
Antebi was a participating provider in Medicare, Medicaid and several private insurance plans between 2014 and 2020, according to the release. Antebi billed more than $24.6 million for services he purportedly provided, including billing more than $15.3 million to Medicaid and more than $8 million to Medicare, according to the release.
An investigation by officials showed he engaged in various forms of billing fraud, according to the release.
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“For example, Antebi frequently billed Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies on dates when travel records show he was overseas, including on trips to China, Israel, Turkey, the Dominican Republic and across Europe, or when he was otherwise outside the State of New Jersey,” according to the release. “Antebi billed approximately $230,700 to Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance plans between November 2015 and January 2020 for services he purportedly rendered while he was traveling and not in the office.”
Antebi also made excessive billings for one-day periods of time, officials said, billing insurance plans for more than 24 hours’ worth of services in a one-day period on more than 900 occasions between 2014 and 2020.
“Antebi also billed insurance companies for between 12 and 23.99 hours of purported services in a one-day period of time on more than 300 occasions,” officials said. “On certain occasions, law enforcement surveilled Antebi on days when he left the clinics early, but nevertheless billed as though he saw many patients on those days.”
And, despite the high billings, individuals told investigators Antebi commonly saw them for only very brief periods of time, and he often did not perform any medical exams or evaluations during their visits, according to the release. They also indicated there sometimes was no medical equipment or examination tables in the rooms at the clinics in which patients met with providers, and that patients sometimes met with providers on folding chairs in the hallway of the clinics.
The health care fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The wire and mail fraud counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.