Merion Station, Lower Merion Township, PA — A Merion Station Doctor has been charged with billing Medicaid and Medicare for hundreds of thousands of dollars for patient care when he was not even in the country.
Vedat Obuz, 54, of Merion Station, Pennsylvania, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of health care fraud. Obuz appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court. He was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced the charges and case information. According to statements made in court and official documents Obuz billed Medicaid for $358,779 and Medicare for $57,396 for patient care that took place when he was traveling and was not present at his medical practice over a period from July 2014 and October 2018.
The governments case against Obuz is partially based on medical billing codes showing that Obuz was the treating physician, requiring him to be physically present to see the patients, yet travel records show Obuz was in Tel Aviv, Israel from November 1 through November 6 in 2017 when Obuz billed Medicare and Medicaid $4,660 for treating roughly 30 patients. These patients were reportedly seen on November 2 through November 4, 2017.
Travel record further show that Obuz was in Istanbul, Turkey, from April 18-22, 2018, yet on April 19-21, 2018, he billed Medicare and Medicaid $7,770 for treating 53 patients. Again he was required to be physically present to see the patients.
The health care fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
According to Carpenito the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge Scott Lampert; the FBI’s South Jersey Resident Agency, the Camden County Police Department, assisted in the investigation leading to the charges.
The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the Health Care and Government Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
Defense counsel in the case is listed as Ernest E. Badway Esq., Morristown, New Jersey.
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