By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
A Kissimmee, Florida, man is accused of posing as an occupational therapist (OT) and working at various health care facilities in Central Florida, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). On October 16, 2012, the DOJ announced that the phony OT was charged with three counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Phony OT Worked in Hospitals Around Central Florida.
The fake OT allegedly took the license numbers of two legitimate OTs and stole the social security number of a North Carolina man. With this information and fabricated education credentials, the imposter received a temporary OT license from the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the man worked for a number of employers in Central Florida, including Florida Hospital, Lake Placid Health Care Center and a staffing agency, between 2009 and 2011.
Fake OT Faces Prison Time.
Pretending to be any kind of health professional can result in prison time and large fines.
In the case of the phony OT, if convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison for each of the five counts of mail/wire fraud and two years in federal prison for the aggravated identity theft charge.
Other Odd Health Care Stories from the Area.
It seems to me that over the years the town of Kissimmee has had a disproportionately large number of phony health professionals practicing there. Just recently an individual was convicted of posing as a licensed physician assistant (PA.), seeing patients in a Kissimmee hospital. Click here to see a blog on that story.
Phony doctors, nurses, PAs, dentists; what gives? Perhaps the close proximity to Disney World’s Fantasy Land leads them to believe they are really health professionals. Or maybe it’s something in the water there. Let’s hope it’s not colloidal silver. (Note: inside Central Florida joke.) See link to Howey-in-the-Hills story. See link to “Papa Smurf” story.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
What do you think of this story? With the recent phony doctor, dentist and other health professional stories lately do you think it has become too easy to obtain a fraudulent license from the DOH? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
Pavuk, Amy. “Feds: Man Posed as Occupational Therapist, Worked at Local Hospitals.” Orlando Sentinel. (October 16, 2012). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-10-16/news/os-fake-therapist-indicted-20121016_1_occupational-therapist-local-hospitals-indictment-charges
Department of Justice. “Occupational Therapist Impersonator Charged With Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, And Identity Theft.” Department of Justice. (October 16, 2012). From: http://www.justice.gov/usao/flm/press/2012/oct/20121016_Lewis.html
WESH.com. “Feds Say Fake Therapist Worked at Central Fla. Hospitals.” WESH.com. (October 16, 2012). From: http://www.wesh.com/news/central-florida/Feds-say-fake-therapist-worked-at-Central-Fla-hospitals/-/11788162/17015634/-/o4imk8/-/index.html
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.