NY dentist cleared of fraud, awarded $7.7M

2008 08 29 15 39 44 564 Justice Scale 70

Leonard Morse, DDS, has been awarded $7.7 million after suing New York state for $75 million for falsely accusing him of Medicaid fraud, the New York Daily News reported.

Dr. Morse's suit claimed that he was investigated by the administration of former New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer because he was among the highest Medicaid billers in the state. In the course of the investigation, he lost his practice and credibility, according to the complaint.

After rejecting a $100,000 settlement offer from the attorney general, the Brooklyn-based dentist sued two of the state's former investigators, resulting in a verdict of $1.6 million more than the losses in business he estimated in the suit.

Former Spitzer deputy John Fusto and investigator Jose Castillo were accused of fabricating evidence in the suit, according to the article. Dr. Morse also chided the former governor for the investigation happening on his watch.

The New York Attorney General's Office informed federal Judge Carol Amon that they intend to appeal the verdict.

Deputy Attorney General Christopher Miller contended that although Dr. Morse had been acquitted of the crime he was accused of, it was not due to the presence of fabricated evidence.

Dr. Morse's Park Slope practice served some 30,000 patients, 95% of whom were eligible for Medicaid, prior to being charged with $1 million in fraudulent denture billings. However, Fusto could only produce evidence of $3,000 in billing records that could not be proved.

Dr. Morse filed a $75 million suit in Brooklyn Federal Court and claimed he was the victim of a Medicaid fraud witch hunt. Dr. Morse said he never considered taking the settlement, the article noted.

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