Psych Crime Reporter

March 30, 2010

Psychiatrist Peter C. Gleason sentenced for federal crime, reprimanded in California on patient recordkeeping violations

On March 26, 2010, the Medical Board of California reprimanded psychiatrist Peter C. Gleason for unprofessional conduct.

According to Board’s document, this reprimand was the result of “discipline, restriction, or limitation imposed by another state.”

Specifically, in July 2008, Gleason was reprimanded by the Maryland State Board of Physicians, which found that Gleason “regularly and over a long period of time, prescribed medications for a patient without noting either their side-effects or the patient responses to the medications.  He kept scant notes of his treatment of the patient, and his records failed to reflect the dosage, strength or frequency of the powerful medications he prescribed.”

The Maryland Board concluded that [Gleason] “has lost touch with the importance of maintaining adequate medical documentation.”  In addition to the reprimand, the Maryland Board placed his license on probation for a minimum of six months, and required him to successfully complete comprehensive courses in medical records and in psychopharmacology for child and adolescent patients.

Gleason was additionally convicted in August 2008 in New York for the federal misdemeanor of “misbranding” a drug, in that he “did knowingly and intentionally introduce into interstate commerce…Xyrem (a central nervous system drug approved to treat narcolepsy and daytime sleepiness), that was misbranded within the meaning of 21 U.S.C. § 352 (f), in that [he] was marketing Xyrem for medical indications that were not approved by the FDA when [he]…well knew and believed, Xyrem’s labeling lack adequate directions for such uses and adequate warnings against such uses where such uses could be dangerous to the user’s health.”

Gleason was paid by the drug’s maker to appear at speaking engagements to promote the drug for the treatment of chronic fatigue, weight loss and insomnia—indications for which it is not FDA-approved.  He was sentenced February 22, 2010 to one year of probation.

Source: Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order in the Matter of the Accusation Against Peter Charles Gleason, M.D., Physician and Surgeon Certificate No. G87635, Case No. 16-2008-192888, Medical Board of California, March 26, 2010; Superceding Misdemeanor Information, United States of America against Peter Gleason, Case No. 1:06-cr-00229-ENV, United States District Court Eastern District of New York, filed August 8, 2008; Final Decision and Order in the Matter of Peter D. Gleason (sic), M.D., License No. D24640, Before the Maryland State Board of Physicians, Case Number 2005-0922
and Judgment in a Criminal Case, United States of America v. Peter Gleason, Case Number 06cr229(s-2)-01 (ENV), USM Number 74054-053, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, filed February 23, 2010.


March 25, 2010

Court upholds conviction of Maria C. Palazzo, convicted of Medicaid fraud

Filed under: crime and fraud,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:56 pm
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A federal appeals court has upheld psychiatrist Maria Carmen Palazzo’s fraud convictions.

Palazzo was indicted June 14, 2007 on 55 counts of health care fraud and false documentation associated with a clinical trial of Paxil in children and adolescents, conducted at New Orleans’ Touro Infirmary.  She also defrauded the Medicare program by submitting false and fraudulent invoices to Touro for consulting and medical director services.

On April 16, 2008, she was convicted of 39 of the counts.

On January 14, 2009, Palazzo was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison, restitution of $655,260.97 to the Medicaid and Medicare programs and three years of supervised release following her prison sentence.

In her appeal of the conviction, Palazzo claimed jurors heard insufficient evidence to support her convictions for defrauding the Medicare program by billing for services she didn’t provide.

But a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that argument this week affirmed her convictions.

Federal prosecutors say Palazzo submitted false invoices to Touro Infirmary as part of the scheme. She was sentenced last year to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $655,000 in restitution.

Source: “N.O. psychiatrist’s fraud convictions upheld,” Associated Press, March 25, 2010; “Local psychiatrist indicted for fraud associated with mentally ill patients and children in clinical trials,” press release of the the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, June 14, 2007 and “New Orleans doctor sentenced to seven years, 3 months in federal prison for healthcare fraud violations,” press release of the the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, January 14, 2009.

March 22, 2010

Washington counselor Gregory Crivello loses license for five years for “romantic” relationship with client

Filed under: sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:45 pm
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On January 12, 2010, the Washington State Department of Health (DoH) suspended indefinitely the license of registered counselor Gregory Crivello for no less than five years.

According to the DoH’s order, Crivello, who was employed as counselor by a company that contracts with the Department of Corrections to provide services to chemically dependent inmates, “became emotionally involved” with and “exchanged personal phone numbers” with a client-inmate while functioning as her drug treatment counselor.

Crivello resigned his position in May 2009 and has since been involved in a romantic relationship with the former client-inmate.  Crivello declined a hearing on the matter and may not petition for reinstatement for at least five years.

Source: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order (Waiver of Hearing) in the Matter of Gregory Crivello, Credential No. RC 00053368, Case No. M2009-880, Washington State Department of Health, filed January 12, 2010.

Kansas psychiatrist Ethan Bickelhaupt pleads guilty to controlled substance charges

On February 22, 2010, Kansas psychiatrist Ethan Bickelhaupt pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully distributing controlled substances and one count of unlawfully obtaining controlled substances.

Prosecutors say he issued prescriptions in 2006 to people who were not his patients.  Those people would then return the drugs to Bickelhaupt for his personal use.

On December 14, 2007 the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts indefinitely suspended  Bickelhaupt’s license.  Kansas State Board documents state, “The Board has received reports that (Bickelhaupt) issued prescriptions for Adderall and Klonopin in the names of two high school students and then paid the students cash to pick up the prescriptions from at least two different pharmacies.  The students then gave (him) the prescriptions” and “There is reasonable suspicion that (Bickelhaupt) has the inability to practice the healing arts with reasonable skill and safety to patients…”

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21st.

Source: “Former psychiatrist pleads guilty in drug case,” Wichita Eagle, February 22, 2010 and Final Order In the Matter of Ethan Bickelhaupt, M.D., Kansas License No. 04-18225, Docket No. 08-HA00040, Board of Healing Arts of the State of Kansas, filed December 14, 2007.

March 17, 2010

Virginia revokes license of psychiatrist Igor Magier, history of disciplinary actions, failure to comply

Filed under: psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 9:19 pm
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On February 26, 2010, the Virginia Board of Medicine revoked psychiatrist Igor Magier’s license for failure to comply with a 2008 Board order to complete an assessment of his competency after a one-year suspension for improperly prescribing narcotics.  This action comes after a succession of disciplinary actions that the state of Virginia took against Magier: In 1989, he was placed on indefinite probation for numerous instances of indiscriminately, concomitantly and excessively prescribing to persons he knew or should have known were drug dependent, controlled substances without accepted therapeutic purpose and contrary to sound medical judgment.  Terms of his probation included prohibition from prescribing Schedule II and III controlled substances.  In 1990, he was reprimanded for failing to comply with the practice monitoring condition of his 1989 probation.  In 2002, he was again reprimanded for failing to disclose in his state board internet profile that he had surrendered his North Carolina medical license in 1990.  In October 2008, his license was suspended for one month for prescribing controlled substances continuously and at high levels, without proper assessment, diagnosis, monitoring, documentation or treatment plan to two patients resulting in one patient’s addition to the drugs and subsequent hospitalization for detoxification.  He was again placed on indefinite probation, the terms of which required him to submit to the competency assessment—something for which he was sent multiple notices to which he refused to comply.

Source: Virginia Board of Medicine file on Igor Magier, M.D., as posted on the Board’s website, URL:

Wisconsin college psychologist Mervin Smucker surrenders license on allegations of “dual relationship,” sex with patient

On February 20, 2010, psychologist Mervin R. Smucker surrendered his license to the Wisconsin Psychology Examining Board.

According to the Board’s document, Smucker, who held a faculty position at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and provided services at two hospitals in addition to a private practice, engaged in a dual relationship with a patient.  Specifically, the document states that between October 2002 and May 2005, Smucker treated a woman for trauma she had experienced while a foreign exchange student in which she was abducted and raped and witnessed her boyfriend’s murder.

Smucker’s dual involvement with the patient included giving her rides home after two or three treatment sessions, being together with the patient in his home or other property he owned and (according the to the patient’s allegations), engaging in sexual contact and intercourse with her while she was his client.

The document states in particular that the patient attended a conference on Child Sexual Abuse and Incest at which Smucker was a presenter and that the two had connecting rooms while they stayed at the hotel.

Source: Final Decision and Order 0000051, in the Matter of the Disciplinary Proceedings Against Mervin R. Smucker, Ph.D., State of Wisconsin Before the Psychology Examining Board.

March 15, 2010

“Top” UK psychologist Malcolm Cross “offered male colleague sex and threatened to expose himself at meeting”

Filed under: psychologist,sexual abuse — Psych Crime Reporter @ 6:33 pm
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Malcolm Cross faces being struck off the register of psychologists after allegedly offering a male colleague sex

A distinguished psychologist offered a married male colleague sex and threatened to expose himself during a drunken meal with staff, it was alleged today.

Malcolm Cross confessed his love to Owen Hughes and attempted to put his arm round him as they dined.

When his advances were spurned, Cross touched himself in the crotch and threatened to expose himself, the Health Professions Council hearing was told.

He also flirted with waiters and rubbed the upper thigh of another man as his shocked wife looked on, it was claimed.

Dr Cross, a dean at London’s City University,  makes frequent media appearances on BBC and boasts on his website of his ‘warm, vibrant and understanding personality.’

He also claims to appreciate the real concerns facing people today, especially ‘those affected by issues of sexuality.’

But he faces being struck off the register practitioner psychologists over his alleged behaviour at a meeting he was due to lead to discuss the accreditation of PHD students at the University of West of England in Bristol last June.

A ‘very drunk’ Cross arrived late unsteady on his feet and slurring his speech, the hearing was told.

He showed no interest what was being discussed by his four colleagues and instead urged to them go for a drink.

The meeting ended early because of his state and the group took a taxi to the Glass Boat restaurant where Cross continued to drink.

As Cross got drunker he flirted with waiting staff and launched into a rambling account of his troubled love life, Mr Hughes told the hearing.

‘He said he had been unfaithful to his current partner and admitted to a lot of inappropriate sexual behaviour that he was not proud about.

‘I tried to be understanding, but then he started telling me that he loved me.’

Cross repeatedly asked Mr Hughes to kiss him and eventually stood up and tried to plant a kiss on him from across the table.

Mr Hughes, who is a father, managed to rebuff him, but Cross then offered him oral sex.

‘The way he put it made me in no doubt as to his seriousness about it,’ Mr Hughes said.

‘He had no reason to think that I was anything other than heterosexual. It made me feel very uncomfortable. It was clear that his behaviour was unprofessional and I asked him to stop.’

But Cross also attempted to kiss Mr Perrett and rubbed his inner thigh.

Simon Perrett, another member of their group, attempted to laugh his behaviour off, but his wife who was also at the dinner was ‘not amused’, the hearing was told.

Another diner, Molly Ross from the British Psychological Society, said Cross also threatened to expose himself and asked Mr Hughes to do the same.

Dr Cross also picked on Miss Ross throughout the night accusing her being a ‘spoil sport’ because she was concerned about the amount being drunk.

The following morning, Cross smelt of ‘vomit and stale alcohol,’ but was still able to fulfil his role at the accreditation of students, the hearing was told.

Australian born Cross is chartered as a Counselling Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and is registered as such with the UK Health Professions Council.

He is a regular contributor to radio programmes including BBC London’s Late Show and  BBC 94.9FM’s and has appeared on Radio 4’s Last Word and BBC Radio Five Live.

His page on City University website claims: ‘Malcolm has consistently charmed and advised clients, colleagues and students alike with his sense of humour and ability to translate complicated psychological concepts into easy to understand language.’

Cross denies misconduct or that his fitness to practice is impaired.

The hearing continues.

Source: Tom Kelly, “Top psychologist ‘offered male colleague sex and threatened to expose himself at meeting,'” London Daily Mail, March 15, 2010.

March 11, 2010

Washington state suspended license of mental health counselor Erik N. Bracht, married patient

On January 21, 2010, the Washington Department of Health (DoH) suspended indefinitely counselor ERIK N. BRACHT for unprofessional conduct.  According to the DoH’s Order, from July 8, 2002 through June 16, 2003, Bracht provided counseling services to a female patient who was married and who received counseling in part to “examine issues arising from that relationship.”  The Order states that on several occasions, the client made it clear to Bracht that she was interested in having a personal relationship with him: on one occasion the client invited Bracht on a social outing and on two occasions, contacted him at home.  While Bracht did resist these advances, reporting them to his supervisor and transferring the client’s therapy to another counselor, he shortly thereafter decided he wanted to have a personal relationship with the client and entered into such in August 2003.  He married the client in June 2004—in full cognizance of the fact that state statutes require that counselors allow two years to pass after the termination of the therapeutic relationship before engaging in social or other relationships with former patients.

Source: Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Agreed Order on Modification in the Matter of Erik N. Bracht, Credential No. MHC.LH.00007519, Docket No. 05-03-B-1014LH, Master Case No. M2005-113570, Washington Department of Health, filed January 21, 2010.

March 10, 2010

Maryland psychiatrist Michael D. Potash surrenders license on charges of “immoral and unprofessional conduct”

Filed under: psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 6:13 am
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On December 16, 2009, the Maryland Board of Physicians accepted the permanent surrender of psychiatrist Michael D. Potash’s license, in lieu of defending the pending Board charges under the grounds of immoral and unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine.

Source: Entry of Michael D. Potash, M.D., as found in Maryland Sanctions, December 2009 (report of disciplinary action against state licensed professionals, as found on website of the Maryland Board of Physicians).

Wisconsin psychiatrist Pastor Colon surrenders license on charges of kissing patient on lips

Filed under: psychiatrist,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 6:11 am
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On February 27, 2010, the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board accepted the surrender of psychiatrist Pastor Colon’s medical license.  According to the Board’s document, Colon, who resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, “hugged and kissed a patient on the lips after a session.  He states that he had no sexual intent.”  Conditions of the surrender require Colon to undergo a mental health assessment should he wish to re-register and to pay $1,400 (the cost of the Board’s proceeding against him).

Source: Final Decision and Order #0000061 in the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Pastor Colon, M.D., Division of Enforcement Case #07 MED 230.

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