Dover doctor pleads guilty to felony health care fraud

DOVER — A Dover pain doctor was sentenced to 18 months of probation Monday after pleading guilty to one count of felony health care fraud involving fraudulent billing practices.

Dr. Senad Cemerlic, an anesthesiologist and owner of ABG Pain Clinic, was ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution to the state Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance and a $50,000 fine. He also must pay $10,000 to cover the cost of the investigation that began last in year in response to a tip to the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Superior Court Judge Robert Young also ordered Cemerlic to perform 200 hours of volunteer service, another condition of the plea agreement negotiated by prosecutor Tina Showalter and defense attorney James Liguori. Both sides suggested that prison time for Cemerlic would be “inappropriate.”

“We know very good people make some very stupid mistakes,” Liguori told the judge.

Cemerlic was arrested last September on six counts of felony health care fraud following a lengthy investigation by state and federal authorities into his billing practices between in 2012 and 2013.

Investigators said they uncovered extensive patterns of fraud, including billing for services that were never provided, submitting claims for services and testing that weren’t medically necessary, billing for tests and equipment provided by an outside laboratory vendor, and submitting claims with higher reimbursement codes than the actual procedures or tests performed.

Cemerlic, who is likely to face disciplinary proceedings by the state medical licensing board, started to read a prepared statement before sentencing but was overcome with emotion. As his wife and two children looked on, he handed the statement to Liguori to read.

In the statement, Cemerlic made a vague reference to trusting people he should not have trusted.

“It was not my intention to steal the money, but it was my fault, and I am responsible,” he added.

Randall Chase writes for the Associated Press

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