TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor announced that the owner of a now-defunct Central Jersey mobile dental practice today was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $7 million in restitution and civil penalties in connection with a scheme to defraud more than $5.5 million from Medicaid.
Stephen Beukas, 52, who owned New Jersey Mobile Dental, P.A. (“NJ Mobile”), was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley in Monmouth County in accordance with a plea agreement reached when he pleaded guilty to second-degree misconduct by a corporate official in September.
In 2013, Beukas and six NJ Mobile employees – including four dentists - were charged by indictment with conspiring to defraud Medicaid by overbilling or submitting false claims for services purportedly provided to elderly patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care facilities, and private homes throughout New Jersey.
“Dr. Beukas used his mobile medical services company to gain access to vulnerable patients who needed on-site dental care, and then treated them as pawns in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from Medicaid,” said Attorney General Porrino. “The stiff sentence he received today sends a clear message that we will not allow crooked medical professionals to siphon public funds from those who truly need them.”
“This defendant played a key role in the blatant theft of Medicaid funding through fraud,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute these cases to protect New Jersey’ s most vulnerable residents from exploitation and to preserve the Medicaid funding they rely on.”
The indictment alleges that between Jan. 1, 2003 and Aug. 1, 2009, Beukas and other defendants charged in the case stole $5,548,822 from the New Jersey Medicaid Program in an ongoing fraudulent scheme.
It is alleged that on numerous occasions, the defendants overbilled Medicaid for more services than the mobile dentists could have possibly rendered in one day. The defendants also allegedly billed for specific dental services that were not actually performed by the dentists. In addition, it is alleged that NJ Mobile systematically added a charge for Behavior Management on almost every Medicaid patient purportedly treated regardless of whether the dentists actually spent the additional time with the patient that would warrant that charge.
It is also alleged that the defendants would systematically add a “trip charge” to almost every Medicaid patient in the facility despite the fact that the dentists were only entitled to one per trip to the facility, regardless of the number of patients examined or treated.
Beukas and his mobile dentists would then subsequently retain the payments from Medicaid to which they were not entitled, it is alleged.
The investigation began when the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit uncovered NJ Mobile’s suspicious billing for Medicaid patients. As a result of the investigation, which included undercover surveillance and an execution of a search warrant at NJ Mobile’s Colts Neck office, six mobile dentists previously pleaded guilty to criminal accusations.
Charges are pending against the four other dentists charged in the 2013 indictment.
Deputy Attorneys General Oriana Nadraga and Gina Galante are handling this matter on behalf of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Deputy Attorney General Nadraga represented the State at sentencing. Sgt. Kathleen Casey (retired) and Auditor Kim Geis coordinated the investigation. Additional assistance was provided by Lt. Joseph Jaruszewski, Detective Anthony Correll, Management Assistant Mitzi Gross (retired), Attorney Assistant Mona Patel, and Senior Management Assistant B'leia Williams.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Iu noted that some important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at www.njinsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.
Follow the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office online at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube. The social media links provided are for reference only. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.