Bethesda man is charged in insurance fraud Drug treatment official accused of false billing

November 03, 1995|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

The president of a defunct Montgomery County drug and alcohol treatment facility has been charged with 16 counts of theft in a scheme that bilked insurance companies out of about $2 million, state police reported.

Warren Ray Weitzman, 49, of Bethesda is alleged to have billed insurance companies out of room and board provided for patients at his Rockville treatment center even though the facility is licensed as an outpatient program, police said.

State police raided the offices of the treatment center, called Turning Point of Maryland, in May 1994 and seized billing records showing that numerous patients reportedly had been provided room and board in connection with residential treatment.

At the time of the search warrant, the facility was licensed as a "nonresidential intermediate care facility," said Sgt. Chris Hohenstein of the state police squad assigned to the Maryland Insurance Administration's fraud division.

Turning Point billed 30 to 40 insurance companies for room and board that had never been provided for patients, Sergeant Hohenstein said. The companies apparently were unaware that Turning Point was a nonresidential facility and therefore ineligible for room and board reimbursement, police said.

"Some of the insurance companies were out of state," Sergeant Hohenstein said. "The volume of claims is so high, a lot of them operated a lot on trust."

Among the insurance companies that reported losses were National Healthclaims Corp., Travelers, Aetna, Cigna, Union Labor Life, New York Life and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

After an 18-month investigation by the insurance fraud division and the Montgomery County state's attorney's office, Mr. Weitzman was indicted Oct. 26 on 16 counts of felony theft. The Montgomery County grand jury also indicted him on a charge of conspiracy to commit theft.

The thefts occurred between September 1992 and August 1994, police allege. The treatment facility, owned by Modern Healthcare, provided drug and alcohol treatment for an average of 25 patients at a time. It went out of business during the investigation.

Police said they have not recovered any of the money alleged to have been stolen. Mr. Weitzman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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