Man who owned Trumbull dental practice pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud scheme
A man who owned and operated a dental clinic in Trumbull plead guilty this week to health care fraud and tax evasion, stemming from his involvement in what investigators called an elaborate $20 million Medicaid fraud scheme.
Gary F. Anusavice, also known as “Gary Andrews,” “Gary Andrus” and “Gary Francis,” 60, of North Kingstown, R.I., pleaded guilty Monday before United States Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport to health care fraud and tax evasion.
He owned and operated three Connecticut dental clinics, including Dental Group of Connecticut, in Trumbull.
“This defendant’s illegal operation of three Connecticut dental clinics, and his failure to pay income on the substantial amount of money he received from his involvement in this scheme, has siphoned millions of dollars from the Medicaid program and the U.S. Treasury,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly. “Health care fraud increases costs and threatens the integrity of our health care system, and we are committed to protecting American taxpayers by prosecuting these crimes. I want to thank HHS-OIG, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI for their investigative efforts, and thank the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, which has provided important assistance during the course of this investigation.”
According to court documents, in July 1997, Anusavice was convicted in Massachusetts state court for submitting false health care claims in relation to his involvement in dental clinics. He subsequently surrendered his dentistry licenses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for five years. After additional investigations, Anusavice surrendered his right to practice dentistry in Rhode Island for 18 months in 2005, and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry permanently revoked his license to practice dentistry in Massachusetts in 2006. As of May 1998, Anusavice has been excluded from participation in Medicare and state health care programs, including Medicaid.
From 2008 to April 2011, Anusavice owned and operated several dental clinics in Connecticut, but used a licensed dentist to act as the nominal head of the clinics. The clinics included Landmark Dental in West Haven, Dental Group of Connecticut in Trumbull, and Dental Group of Stamford. Anusavice and the licensed dentist provided false Medicaid Provider Enrollment Applications to DSS that did not disclose Anusavice’s controlling interest in the clinics or his disciplinary history. As a result of this fraud, the Connecticut Medicaid program reimbursed Anusavice’s dental practices nearly $21 million.
He actively managed the dental clinics, recruited dentists and oversaw their hiring. At various times, he trained personnel on Medicaid billing codes and procedures, and also determined salary and compensation for the clinics’ doctors and support staff.
Anusavice attempted to conceal his involvement in these dental practices by establishing multiple nominee entities, including AMZ Consulting, Inc., Haven Consulting, Inc. and New England Preservation Services, Inc., and he directed his business partners and employees to make checks payable to these entities. He deposited the checks into bank accounts he opened for the entities, and then used the funds to purchase assets for his personal use, including a residence in North Kingstown, R.I, a 33-foot yacht and a Mercedes Benz.
Anusavice received $3,325,272 in income from the dental clinics, but did not file federal tax returns for the 2008 through 2011 tax years, resulting in a tax loss to the government of more than $1.2 million.
“Although this defendant was barred from Medicaid and other Government health programs after his health care fraud conviction in 1998, he continued to bill these programs using an elaborate scheme to conceal his involvement,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge, Susan J. Waddell. “Working with Federal and State partners, our investigators effectively penetrate such schemes and help bring suspects to justice.”
“When a health care provider steals from the government via Medicaid Fraud, the money is part of the untaxed underground economy,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge William P. Offord said Monday. “Gary Anusavice admitted his guilt today, and also agreed to forfeit significant assets that he purchased with the proceeds of the Medicaid fraud scheme.”
Anusavice pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and one count of tax evasion, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. He is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford on August 23, 2013.
Anusavice has agreed to forfeit his Rhode Island property, yacht and Mercedes Benz, as well as $91,700 in cash that was seized from his residence on May 24, 2012. He also has agreed to pay back taxes in the amount of about $1.9 million, plus applicable interest and penalties. The tax loss figure includes more than $600,000 in federal taxes that he failed to pay from 1990 to 2003.
“Despite being excluded from participating in both Medicare and Medicaid, Mr. Anusavice devised and orchestrated elaborate schemes to defraud these government-sponsored health care programs with undaunted avarice and greed,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Kimberly K. Mertz. “His frauds not only greatly undermined the financial security of these vital programs but also impacted the ability of legitimate medical professionals to provide important health services to those truly in need.”
In a related matter, the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office today announced that it has reached a settlement with Anusavice and six of his management and consulting companies. Under the terms of the settlement, Anusavice has agreed to pay the state $9.9 million, which represents treble damages under the Connecticut False Claims Act and restitution under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
He was arrested on May 24, 2012, and has been released on a $500,000 bond since October 2012.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Connecticut Attorney General’s Office provided assistance and cooperation throughout the investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Wines and Richard Molot, and Trial Attorney Sean Beaty of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice.
Acting U.S. Attorney Daly encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force at 203-777-6311 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.