Doctor gets year in prison for insurance fraud False claims netted $190,000 in 4 years

July 30, 1996|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore doctor and former deputy medical examiner who was convicted earlier this year of medical and automobile insurance fraud was sentenced to a year in federal prison yesterday.

Dr. Stanley Zvi Felsenberg, 65, also will serve six months in home detention once he is released from prison.

Felsenberg, a resident of Towson who operated offices at 7131 Liberty Road in Woodmoor and 11 E. Chase St. in Baltimore, was convicted of collecting $190,176 in false claims that were submitted to the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, the Maryland Injured Workers Fund and private insurers between January 1991 and April 1995 for medical treatment that was either never provided or provided by unqualified personnel.

The case was investigated by the Federal Insurance Fraud Task Force, which includes agents from the FBI and the Postal Inspector's Office. The fraud was brought to the attention of the task force by investigators from the Maryland Injured Workers Fund, which administers worker compensation claims.

The insurance claims were primarily for evaluation and physical therapy for patients involved in automobile or on-the-job accidents, according to documents. All the patients were referred to Felsenberg by lawyers.

Felsenberg did not employ a licensed physical therapist at either office, court documents said, though state law requires all physical therapy to be supervised by a physician or licensed physical therapist.

In a scheme to defraud the insurance companies, Felsenberg submitted claims for physical therapy services that were either never rendered or were rendered by unqualified workers.

Felsenberg routinely had unlicensed secretarial and clerical employees perform physical therapy on his patients and then billed the companies as if he had personally performed the treatment, court records said.

On some occasions that Felsenberg billed the insurance companies for services, he was on vacation or out of state, the records said.

Felsenberg's former wife, Patricia M. Taylor, 58, who was a secretary at the Liberty Road office and administered physical therapy services, was sentenced earlier this month to two years' probation for her role in the insurance fraud scheme.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Felsenberg could have received 18 to 24 months in prison. During yesterday's sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Evans told U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin that Felsenberg had cooperated in five other medical fraud investigations and recommended a lower sentence.

Felsenberg told Smalkin of his many accomplishments and good works during his career of more than 30 years. "I have devoted my life to serving my community, state and the United States of America," he said.

But he also took responsibility for the fraud scheme. "I sincerely regret my involvement with the illegal acts that took place in my office," he said.

Felsenberg, who has several ailments, including hypertension, sleep apnea and an injured shoulder, will serve his sentence at a federal prison with a hospital facility.

Pub Date: 7/30/96

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