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Springfield, MO

Lebanon psychologist pleads guilty to $1M fraud

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Rhett McCarty, 67, of Lake Ozark, pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to engaging in a $1 million scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.

McCarty, a licensed psychologist, entered his plea in front of U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs, according to a news release from the office of David Ketchmark, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

The plea followed a May indictment that included a forfeiture, requiring McCarty to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the offenses.

According to the release, McCarty was a private practitioner who provided psychotherapy services to Medicare and Medicaid recipients in their Lebanon-area homes. Between Sept. 17, 2008, and April 5 of this year, McCarty submitted Medicare and Medicaid claims daily or nearly daily for 19 beneficiaries, resulting in him receiving payments of nearly $1.28 million. Though McCarty did provide some services for those beneficiaries, he admitted that he did not see them more than once a week, and he estimated that $1 million of the amount paid was for services that were not provided, the release said. As a result of his plea, he must forfeit that amount to the government.

McCarty also admitted that he forged - or caused another person to forge -  the signatures of five of the beneficiaries on patient sign-in sheets in order to obtain $418,507 in Medicare and Medicaid payments.

Under federal statutes, McCarty is subject to up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000 and an order of restitution, the release said. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after a presentencing investigation is completed by the U.S. Probation Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucinda Woolery. It was investigated by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.[[In-content Ad]]

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