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New York Dentist Sentenced to Jail for Upcoding Billing of Prisoner Care

An oral surgeon who had a contract to provide care to prisoners at 26 upstate New York prisons was sentenced to jail for stealing $14,000 from the state.

Dr. Timothy O’Keefe was charged in May 2014 in a 41 – count indictment for charging the state for work he never performed on prisoners. The indictment included one count of grand larceny in the third degree and 40 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree for improper billings to the state prison system for services between 2009 and 2011.

“The defendant engaged in a course of conduct over a lengthy period of time exploiting the medical process for his own benefit,” said Catherine Leahy Scott, the state inspector general.

In making a plea in February 2015 to a second degree misdemeanor of offering a false instrument for filing, O’Keefe admitted he submitted false invoices that included “upcoding.” For example, he would perform a simple extraction but bill it as a more complicated bony impaction procedure that had a higher billing rate.

“This individual, in an effort to enrich himself at the expense of taxpayers, inflated the costs of procedures by falsifying claims and boosting his own profits,” said Leahy Scott.

The plea provides for O’Keefe to serve six months in jail and pay restitution of $14,640. He also must participate in any program and/or monitoring recommended by the State Department of Education’s Office of the Professions.


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