Courier Post
Camden psychiatrist pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud case
By Kim Mulford
May 14, 2018

CAMDEN – A psychiatrist for Nueva Vida Behavioral Health Center admitted Monday that she signed fake treatment plans meant to mislead New Jersey Medicaid inspectors, announced U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Dr. Lyda Monte, 78, of Bellmawr, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to making false statements to a health care benefit program.

Nueva Vida provided mental health services to the Camden Hispanic community. Most of the nonprofit’s patients were Medicaid beneficiaries. Between January 2010 and August 2016, the nonprofit’s executive director, Cesar Tavera, directed therapists to create false treatment plans, and then directed Monte to sign the fabricated plans.

Monte’s defense attorney, Rocco C. Cipparone Jr., said Monday that his client was “manipulated” into signing the fake treatment plans.

Tavera previously pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicaid and embezzling more than $1.5 million from Nueva Vida. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison. His wife, Maria Tavera, pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was sentenced to six months of home detention and three years of probation. She was the nonprofit’s administrator. Andres Ayala, a Nueva Vida therapist, earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and awaits sentencing.

Monte holds a medical license to practice in New Jersey; state records list her as retired. She faces up to five years in prison, and a possible $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 28.


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Lyda Monte