Healthcare News & Insights

Podiatrist nabbed for fraud after billing double amputee

A Maryland podiatrist has pleaded guilty to fraud and identity theft after billing over $1M in false Medicare charges for providing services to a patient with no feet — and after he had already been banned from federal health programs. 

Larry Bernhard, a podiatrist in Gambrills, Maryland, pleaded guilty to health care fraud and identity theft, according to a joint statement by federal law enforcement agencies.

Bernhard billed Medicare for services he never provided. Between April 2002 and October 2004, he submitted approximately 80 claims for service that supposedly took place at skilled nursing facilities — even though the patients were in hospitals at the time.

At his most daring, Bernhard even charged for podiatric services he supposedly provided to a patient who already had both legs amputated.

At the time the claims were submitted, Bernhard had already been banned from Medicare and other federal programs because of earlier billing infractions.

Bernhard also admitted using patients’ personally identifiable information to submit the fraudulent invoices.

He faces up to 10 years in prison for health care fraud and a mandatory two years in prison for aggravated identity theft to be served consecutively. Bernhard has also agreed to pay restitution of more than $1.1 million.

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