Mount Carmel psychiatrist pleads guilty to Medicare fraud
By Rob Wheary
December 8, 2014
HARRISBURG – A Mount Carmel psychiatrist accused of fraudulently billing Medicare for psychotherapy sessions that didn’t happen pleaded guilty to the charges in federal court Nov. 25.
Dr. Andrew Newton, 42, of Harrisburg, the owner-operator of the Newton Psychiatric Clinic, pleaded guilty to six counts of theft or embezzlement in connection with health care in the Nov. 25 court appearance.
Following the plea, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson ordered a presentence investigation to be completed by Dec. 23, but Newton’s attorneys asked for a continuance, which was granted on Dec. 1. The report must be completed and published on or before Jan. 20, 2015.
Authorities alleged Newton billed Medicare for a face-to-face psychotherapy services with patients in Pennsylvania when Newton was out of the country.
The U.S. Government alleged Newton billed Medicare for three patients Aug. 18, 2010, and for patients Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, 2010, when the doctor was in France, and Nov. 29, 2011, when Newton was in England.
Newton “did knowingly and willfully embezzle, steal and convert to his own use” a total of $322.75 from the fraudulent billing, a past release stated.
A plea agreement reached said Newton will plead guilty to all six of the misdemeanor charges, and the government will not bring any other criminal charges related to the offenses, with the exception of criminal tax charges.
In this case, Newton faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison, a term of supervised release following the imprisonment and a fine.
The plea agreement also states that Newton agrees to make full restitution of $20,000, plus $75,000 payable to the Medicare Trust Fund.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Williamsport Office.