Robert Williams, of Atlanta, was arraigned last Friday before United States Magistrate Judge C. Christopher Hagy on federal healthcare fraud charges.

Williams allegedly submitted false claims to Medicare and Georgia Medicaid between July 2007 and October 2009. Under his signature, thousands of claims were submitted to Medicare and Georgia Medicaid seeking reimbursement for group psychological therapy that Williams purportedly provided to beneficiaries at several nursing homes in the Atlanta area. A review of Williams’ claims, however, showed that in many cases he sought payment for services rendered to beneficiaries who were deceased or hospitalized at the time he purportedly rendered care at the nursing homes.

Medicare claims data indicate that over 55,000 claims were submitted on behalf of Williams for group psychological therapy seeking reimbursement for over $2,000,000, and ultimately causing Medicare to reimburse Williams over $750,000. For the same time period, over 40,000 Medicaid claims were submitted on behalf of Williams for group psychological therapy, causing Georgia Medicaid to pay out over $225,000.

“Dr. Williams allegedly stole Medicaid funds that were specifically allocated for the care of some of Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens: the elderly,” said Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. “Our office is committed to protecting Georgia taxpayers and the recipients of Medicaid by aggressively pursuing prosecutions of Medicaid fraud.”

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “As a physician, this defendant had a duty to protect his patients and look out for their interests first. He has been charged with crimes that reflect his misuse of his position and the trust placed in him, all at the expense of his elderly patients, Medicare and Medicaid.”

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders. Williams was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 22, 2011.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Senior Assistant Attorney General Nancy Allstrom and Assistant United States Attorneys Kurt R. Erskine and Nick Oldham are prosecuting the case.