GREENBELT, Md. (WUSA)- A federal grand jury has indicted physician George Mathews, M.D., 75, of Prince Frederick, on charges of illegal distribution of drugs and health care fraud, in connection with pain management clinics, according to a Sept. 24 indictment.
The indictment was unsealed Tuesday upon the arrest of Matthews, according to U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
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According to the indictment, Mathews, who was originally trained as a neurosurgeon, worked as a pain management specialist and practiced out of offices in Prince Frederick, Waldorf and Greenbelt.
The 37 count indictment alleges that Mathews ran a "pill mill" out of his offices, where individuals could obtain prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycontin and methadone, for a fee and without any legitimate medical purpose.
The indictment 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 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, to get a higher reimbursement. For example, the indictment alleges that on more than 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.