SoCal Psychologist|Going to Prison

SAN DIEG0 (CN) – A San Diego-area clinical psychologist was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution for health care fraud.
     Roberto J. Velasquez, 55, of National City, took kickbacks from patients to certify them as disabled, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement announcing his sentence.
     “To further the fraud, Velasquez made up patient histories, fabricated test results, suggested symptoms and complaints that did not exist, intentionally underestimated patient scores on standardized tests, and lied about the length of time he had been seeing the patients. In exchange for each false report, Velasquez charged his patients a $200 kickback,” prosecutors said in the statement.
     “Velasquez admitted falsifying Social Security and Homeland Security forms,” according to the U.S. attorney. “Velasquez falsified Medical Certification for Disability Exception Forms (Forms N-648), which are used by the Department of Homeland Security during the naturalization process. Velasquez’s false certifications allowed certain immigrants to avoid taking the English language and Civics portions of the U.S. citizenship exam. Based on the fraudulent N-648 forms, the Department of Homeland Security granted disability exemptions to approximately 50 immigrants who were not actually disabled.
     “Velasquez also admitted that he submitted fraudulent medical reports to the Social Security Administration, falsely certifying that certain patients were eligible for disability benefits when he knew they were not. Beginning in 2006, and continuing up to the date of Velasquez’s arrest in April 2012, the Social Security Administration paid out at least $1.5 million in unwarranted disability benefits based on Velasquez’s false certifications. Velasquez also admitted that approximately 33 percent of his patient files contained fabrications, false statements, and false certifications of disability.”
     Velasquez was nabbed by an undercover sting.

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