SEP 25 (GREENBELT, Md.) - A federal grand jury has indicted physician George Mathews, M.D., 75, of Prince Frederick, Maryland, on charges of illegal distribution of drugs and health care fraud, in connection with pain management clinics he operated in Prince Frederick, Waldorf and Greenbelt, Maryland. The indictment was returned on September 24, 2012, and unsealed today upon Mathews’ arrest.
The indictment was announced by Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Joanne Yarbrough of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Major Fraud Investigations Division; and Special Agent in Charge Michael S. Barcus, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.
“This indictment marks a significant effort in the on-going investigation against fraudulent workers’ compensation claims,” said Special Agent in Charge Joanne Yarbrough, U.S. Postal Service OIG. “The workers’ compensation program benefits thousands of postal employees who have received legitimate on-the-job injuries. But false claims by health care providers undermine the system. We appreciate the partnership of the DEA, the U. S. Department of Labor - OIG, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland on this case.”
According to the indictment, Mathews, originally trained as a neurosurgeon, worked as a pain management specialist and practiced out of offices located in Maryland at 695 Seagull Beach Road, and 110 Hospital Road, Suite 301, both in Prince Frederick; 7 Post Office Road, Suite 7M, Waldorf; and 7251 Greenbelt Road, #B, Greenbelt.
The 37 count indictment alleges that Mathews ran a “pill mill” out of his offices, at which individuals could obtain prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone and methadone, for a fee and without any legitimate medical purpose.
The indictment further alleges that from at least 2007 through July 2011, Mathews filed fraudulent insurance claims in a scheme to defraud the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs of the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Postal Service, Medicare, Medicaid and other public and private insurance carriers. Mathews allegedly submitted claims falsely seeking reimbursement for patients’ office visits that never occurred, including billing for an office visit at a time that Mathews had been admitted to the hospital for his own health problems. In addition, Mathews allegedly fraudulently double billed for his services, collecting a cash payment from a patient for an office visit, then later improperly filing a claim for those same services. Mathews also allegedly “upcoded” many of his patients’ office visits, claiming that he had met with the patient for a much longer period of time than he actually had, in order to obtain a higher reimbursement. For example, the indictment alleges that on over 250 occasions Mathews sought reimbursement for services he allegedly rendered in excess of 24 hours in a day.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of at least $3,190,899, which is believed to be the proceeds from the health care fraud scheme.
Mathews faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of 22 counts of illegal distribution of drugs and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of 15 counts of health care fraud. Mathews had an initial appearance today in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the DEA, U.S. Postal Service - Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Sujit Raman, who is prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.