Richard N. Schott, 51, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for operating a scheme to defraud healthcare benefit programs, announced US Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee. Chief US District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr also ordered Schott to pay $956,448 in restitution.
Schott, a licensed dentist, and his former practice administrator, Kendra Glenn, were charged in November 2019 with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. Schott pleaded guilty in November. Glenn, also facing seven counts of healthcare fraud, is scheduled for trial on December 3, 2019.
Schott owned and operated Dental Excellence, a dental practice with three locations in Murfreesboro and one in Lebanon, Tennessee. Between November 2013 and January 2018, Schott caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to healthcare benefit programs including Delta Dental, Cigna, TennCare, and DentaQuest, TennCare’s dental benefits program administrator.
The fraudulent claims included billing for dental work that had not been completed or performed at all; falsifying dates of service to appear to comply with benefit programs’ timeframe and preauthorization requirements; falsifying claims to appear that services had been rendered by a benefits program credentialed dentist; and falsifying supporting documents and adding false narratives to support the upcoding of claims.
Other violations included continuing to submit false claims after being advised by insurance companies that audits had determined a pattern of false claims and that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was conducting a criminal investigation into the company’s billing practices.
Schott took steps to conceal the fraud by discouraging employees from questioning billing practices, instructing employees to lie if questioned by insurance companies, and disciplining and even firing employees who questioned the legality of the billing practices. Schott used the proceeds from the scheme for his own personal use and paid bonuses to Glenn based on the amount of money collected from the scheme.
As a result of the scheme, many patients were forced to wait months and even years in pain to have necessary dental work completed by other dentists while their insurance companies resolved the false claims.
Schott was ordered to pay restitution to TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, which is funded by state and federal tax dollars and provides medical and dental care to certain minors and indigent individuals.
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