Ex-dentist pleads guilty in $20M Medicaid scam

A former Rhode Island dentist who lost his license in the state and in Massachusetts over charges of Medicaid fraud has pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and tax evasion in Connecticut in connection with a $20 million Medicaid fraud scheme.

Gary Anusavice, also known as Gary Andrews, Gary Andrus, and Gary Francis, of North Kingstown, RI, pleaded guilty June 3 before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Garfinkel in Bridgeport, CT.

According to court documents, in July 1997, Anusavice was convicted in Massachusetts state court for submitting false healthcare claims in relation to his involvement in dental clinics. He subsequently surrendered his dentistry licenses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for five years.

After additional investigations, in 2005 Anusavice surrendered his right to practice dentistry in Rhode Island for 18 months, and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry permanently revoked Anusavice's license to practice dentistry in Massachusetts in 2006. As of May 1998, Anusavice has been excluded from participating in Medicare and state healthcare programs, including Medicaid.

However, from 2008 to April 2011, Anusavice owned and operated several dental clinics in Connecticut, using a licensed dentist to act as the nominal head of the clinics. The clinics included Landmark Dental in West Haven, Dental Group of Connecticut in Trumbull, and Dental Group of Stamford. Anusavice and the licensed dentist provided false Medicaid provider enrollment applications that did not disclose his controlling interest in the clinics or his disciplinary history. As a result, the Connecticut Medicaid program reimbursed Anusavice's dental practices nearly $21 million, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Anusavice attempted to conceal his involvement in these dental practices by establishing multiple nominee entities, including AMZ Consulting, Haven Consulting, and New England Preservation Services, and he directed his business partners and employees to make checks payable to these entities. Anusavice deposited the checks into bank accounts he opened for the entities, and then used the funds to purchase assets for his personal use, including a residence in North Kingstown, a 33-foot yacht, and a Mercedes Benz.

In addition, Anusavice received $3.325 million in income from the dental clinics, but did not file federal tax returns for the 2008 through 2011 tax years, resulting in a tax loss to the government of more than $1.2 million.

Anusavice pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and one count of tax evasion, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. He is scheduled to be sentenced in August of this year.

Anusavice has agreed to forfeit his Rhode Island property, yacht, and Mercedes Benz, plus $91,700 in cash that was seized from his residence on May 24, 2012. He also has agreed to pay back taxes in the amount of $1.89 million, plus applicable interest and penalties.

In a related development, Rhode Island Attorney General George Jepsen reached a $9.9 million settlement with Anusavice and six of his management and consulting companies, settling the state's civil fraud claims stemming from the alleged illegal Medicaid billing scheme.

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