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Photo by Alex Robinson
By Alex Robinson

A Flushing doctor was sentenced to a year in prison last week after he pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme that prosecutors said fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $15 million, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn said.

Hoi Yat Kam, 59, was charged, along with five others, of bilking Medicare for services they were not providing and were not medically necessary, according to the indictment, filed by the office of Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District.

Kam, an experienced doctor with medical licenses in three states, used the people who benefit from Medicare, a federal program that covers the medical costs of the disabled and elderly, to take advantage of the system, Lynch’s office said.

The defendants operated out of two Flushing clinics, URI Medical Service PC and Sarang Medical PC, at 35-05 Farrington St., where they would offer seniors free non-medical services so they could use their Medicare numbers to bill for treatment that was never provided, the indictment said.

“The scheme operated with the relentless efficiency of an assembly line,” Lynch said in the sentencing memo.

Dozens of seniors would come through the clinics’ doors every day, lured by the promise of free massages, facials, meals, prizes and social events, Lynch said.

Patients were told they must see a doctor in order to receive the free services and were then escorted to see Kam and other doctors, who would prescribe unneeded physical therapy that was never administered, the U.S. attorney said. Seniors would then be given recreational massages and be treated to the promised perks of the clinics, while Kam filed bills to Medicare for treatment that was never provided, Lynch said in the memo.

Between March 2007 and October 2011, Kam and his co-defendants submitted approximately $16.6 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, according to Lynch. His share of that total was about $4.5 million, the U.S. attorney said.

Kam pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud Jan. 9. Lynch recommended Kam be sentenced to 46 to 57 months in prison, but he was only sentenced to 12 months and a day.

“Every dollar that the defendant wrongfully took from these programs could have, and indeed should have, been used to provide valuable services to Medicare beneficiaries,” Lynch said in the memo. “The court’s sentence should therefore reflect the seriousness of this offense, and the need to promote respect for the criminal fraud laws, particularly those dealing with healthcare fraud.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Kam was ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution.

Kam’s arrest was part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a nationwide operation that has charged more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively bilked $5.5 million from Medicare, according to the FBI.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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