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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804)512-2552
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United States Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia 
United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen

Joint release from Attorney General Mark Herring and U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen ...

Psychiatrist Sentenced To Prison for Healthcare Fraud and Wire Fraud

Alfredo Cervantes previously pled guilty to defrauding Virginia Medicaid and United Healthcare for billing insurance programs while carrying on a sexual relationship with a patient

Abingdon, VIRGINIA - A psychiatrist who previously worked in Lebanon, Virginia was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of seven months, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced. In addition, United States District Judge James P. Jones ordered Cervantes to pay a fine of $25,000.00 and restitution in the amount of $3,131.20. After release from prison, Cervantes will be required to serve a two year term of supervised release.

 

Alfredo Cervantes, 61, previously pled guilty to one count of health care fraud and one count of wire fraud. As a condition of his guilty plea, Cervantes, whose medical license and DEA registration were revoked in 2015, agreed never to practice medicine again.

 

"Health care providers who betray the trust placed in them by the public and their patients will be held accountable for their conduct," United States Attorney Cullen stated today. "I am grateful for the work of the Virginia Attorney General's Office, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services to bring Dr. Cervantes to justice."

 

"This case involved both unlawful conduct that cheated taxpayers, and unethical conduct that could have compromised the well-being of a patient," said Attorney General Herring. "Local, state, and federal partners will remain vigilant against this kind of conduct and will hold perpetrators accountable."

 

"Protecting patients from harm and the Medicare and Medicaid Programs from fraudulent billings is a top priority," said Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge for the Philadelphia Regional Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG). "HHS-OIG will work with our fellow law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate physicians who would cause harm to our beneficiaries or steal from US Taxpayers."

 

Cervantes was employed by Mountain States Medical Group and Russell County Medical Center as a psychiatrist. In February 2012, Cervantes began a sexual relationship with one of his patients, which continued until February 18, 2014, when Cervantes ended the relationship and the patient attempted suicide. While that relationship was ongoing, Cervantes purchased alcohol for the patient and encouraged her to drink with him, while prescribing her medications for which alcohol is contraindicated. After one of their encounters at a local hotel, during which Cervantes provided alcohol to the patient, he dropped her off at her car. She was soon pulled over by law enforcement with a blood alcohol concentration of .17. During the time period of his sexual relationship, Cervantes fraudulently billed United Healthcare in the amount of $1,508 for psychiatric care of that patient, and caused Virginia Medicaid to be fraudulently billed $9,313 for prescription medications he wrote for that patient, when no legitimate psychiatric care of the patient was occurring.

This case was investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Attorney General Herring's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the Lebanon Police Department.

Special Assistant United States Attorney and Virginia Assistant Attorney General Janine Myatt prosecuted the case for the United States.

 

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