A Brooklyn dentist was sentenced to one to 3 years in prison for using bogus homeless “patients” to defraud Medicaid.
Lawrence J. Bruckner, 63, was convicted of defrauding the Medicaid program by paying people $25-$30 to solicit homeless Medicaid patients and billing taxpayers under his son’s name, for services never provided, a statement put out by the state Attorney General and Comptroller’s offices said.
“Medical professionals like Dr. Bruckner are not above the law. In addition to paying back what he stole from the Medicaid system, a term in state prison is an appropriate punishment for this defendant,” Attorney General Schneiderman said in the statement. “Medicaid provides critically needed health care to millions of New Yorkers. These fraudulent practices deprive the program of much needed resources and hurt law-abiding doctors. I would like to thank the Comptroller for his cooperation in this joint effort on behalf of the taxpayers of New York State.”
“This dentist’s sole purpose was to cheat the Medicaid system,” Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli added. “He took blatant advantage of vulnerable people and kept expanding his scam to steal more. For the past six years, my office has seen repeated examples of how providers defraud the Medicaid system. We will continue to partner with Attorney General Schneiderman to make sure these Medicaid scammers are brought to justice.”
Bruckner’s recruiters apparently supplied himself and three other dentists from his office, Premier Dental, with fake Medicaid patients. The three dentists paid Bruckner to generate Medicaid patients, income which he failed to declare in his tax returns. From 2007-2011, the four dentists received approximately $6. 3 million from the New York State Medicaid program for dental services never performed.
Bruckner had his son sign, Joseph Bruckner D.D.S, sign blank Medicaid claim forms and forged others to hide his crime. Medicaid paid the son $471,703 based on those forged forms, though he never worked in his father’s office. The son gave 90 percent of the sum to Bruckner and kept the remaining 10 percent, the same statement by the state Attorney General’s office reported.
Prior to his sentencing on Thursday, Bruckner had already been required to pay $700,000 in restitution fees.
Investigations into the other dentists working in Bruckner’s office are ongoing, the statement said, and more arrests are possible.
Anne Cohen is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.