Psych Crime Reporter

March 26, 2013

Savannah psychiatrist William Ellien guilty of drugs for sex scheme

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:51 am

William Ellien, 57, of Savannah pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Judge William Moore Jr. for distributing drugs to his customers without a legitimate medical purpose, according to a press release from the Southern District of Georgia.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing, Ellien, a Savannah psychiatrist, exchanged prescriptions for very addictive prescription drugs for sex acts with various women from 2009 through 2012.  Ellien, who remains in federal custody, is facing up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

There is no parole in the federal system.  A sentencing date will be set upon the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said: “This doctor violated his oath, preyed upon patients, and turned into a common criminal, all for his own personal gratification.  Whether street pushers or physicians, all drug dealers can expect that justice will be swift and the punishment will be severe.”

Source: Savannah Doctor Pleads Guilty For His Role In Trading Drugs For Sex Scam,” press release of the U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Georgia, March 21, 2013.

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Florida psychiatrist Gary Kushner sentenced to 144 months prison in Medicare fraud scheme

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:27 am

A former medical director for Biscayne Milieu, a Miami-based mental-health clinic, was sentenced today to serve 144 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme involving the submission of more than $50 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami Office.

Dr. Gary Kushner, 72, of Plantation, Fla., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. in the Southern District of Florida.  In addition to the prison term, Kushner was ordered to serve three years of supervised release.

Kushner was convicted on Aug. 28, 2012, of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one substantive count of health care fraud, following a two-month jury trial.

According to the evidence at trial, Kushner and his co-conspirators caused the submission of over $50 million dollars in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through Biscayne Milieu, which purportedly operated a partial hospitalization program (PHP) – a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness.  Instead of providing legitimate PHP services, the defendants devised a scheme in which they paid patient recruiters to refer ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to Biscayne Milieu for services that were never provided or were not properly reimbursable by Medicare.  Many of the patients admitted to Biscayne Milieu were not eligible for PHP because they were chronic substance abusers, suffered from severe dementia and would not benefit from group therapy, or had no mental health diagnosis but were seeking exemptions for their U.S. citizenship applications.

The evidence at trial further showed that, as Biscayne Milieu’s medical director, Kushner authorized the treatment of patients that he knew were ineligible for PHP treatment.  Biscayne Milieu then billed Medicare for millions of dollars in PHP treatments for these patients under Kushner’s name.  Evidence further revealed that Kushner would often conduct cursory examinations lasting only minutes before authorizing such fraudulent billings.

Various owners, doctors, managers, therapists, patient brokers and other employees of Biscayne Milieu have also been charged with various health care fraud, kickback, money laundering and other offenses in two indictments unsealed in September 2011 and May 2012.   Biscayne Milieu, its owners and more than 25 of the individual defendants charged in these cases have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial.  Antonio and Jorge Macli and Sandra Huarte – the owners and operators of Biscayne Milieu – were each convicted at trial of various offenses and are scheduled for sentencing in April 2013.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Davis, Marlene Rodriguez and James V. Hayes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida; James V. Hayes was formerly a Trial Attorney in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  The case was investigated by the FBI with the assistance of HHS-OIG, and was brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida in coordination with the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Source: “Medical Director for Miami-Based Health Care Clinic Sentenced to 144 Months in Prison for Role in $50 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme,” press release of U.S. Dept. of Justice Office of Public Affairs, March 15, 2013.

March 15, 2013

Universal Health Services: Protestors Claim Behavioral Health Center Puts Children in Danger

Filed under: patient abuse — Psych Crime Reporter @ 2:59 pm
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Weathering the wind and the low temperatures, a group of more than a dozen concerned parents, registered nurses, and other former employees of Michiana Behavioral Health Center in Plymouth made their voices heard yesterday evening as they stood along the side of Oak Road near the intersection of U.S. 30, holding signs expressing their discontent with the MBHC. The group of protestors claimed that the center is putting children in danger through a variety of policy violations, understaffing, and inadequate supervision, along with a hostile work environment that they allege has caused more than 50 employees to quit their jobs or be fired.

One of the protestors, a registered nurse and former six-and-a-half-year employee of MBHC, told WKVI that she could not sit idly by as the center committed what she claimed were a barrage of violations that put staff and patients alike in harm’s way.

“They’re directly endangering them, knowingly. It’s not an accident, and it’s not a maybe; it’s going to happen, and it has,” she said. “And I just couldn’t stomach it. These kids have been abused to death already.”

Protesters lined Oak Road voicing their outrage at MBHC.

Protesters lined Oak Road voicing their outrage at  MBHC.

Diamond Campbell claims MBHC is dangerously understaffed, and any attempts made by staff members to follow correct policy – rather than the policies that she claims the administration makes up on the fly – often result in termination. She said the center has thrown out the policy book and alleges MBHC no longer follows state-mandated regulations put in place to protect patients from aggressive preteen children and adolescents.

“They have kids that are known sexual predators; they’re allowing them to be roomed with anybody and everybody. There is no increased level of observation, which, in the past, has always been implemented. When there was a child that came in that was known to be a predator, they would be either placed in a room by themselves or they would be placed with staff sitting outside their bedroom door, continuously, all the way throughout the night. Well, they decided that they were not going to do that any longer – it was not cost effective. So, really, they’re going against their own written policy,” she claimed.

On top of that, Campbell maintains that the center no longer segregates patients by age groups – that is, she claims the center will place preteen children, ages 3 to 12, in the same room as adolescents, ages 13 to 17.

She went on to assert that the center no longer takes into account violent or sexual histories when placing patients on increased observation, when they would previously assign a staff member to watch the patient at all times to prevent any incidents.

“They began violating it in December. They started putting out memos – I’ve got emails from the assistant director of nursing as well as the director of nursing stating that they were no longer going to place people on any increased level of observation due to past history,” Campbell claimed. “Well, past history is everything, because in the past they’ve molested, in the past they’ve raped, in the past they’ve abused. So it’s very pertinent, and that is what their intake process entails, is nothing but history of what kind of behaviors these children have.”

Campbell said she is disgusted by the behavior exhibited by the center’s CEO and director of nursing, and they’re not just picketing for awareness. She said the protestors would like to see a change in administration at MBHC.

“I would like them to stop endangering these kids,” Campbell said. “They’ve been abused enough. It needs to stop. They’re doing it for a dollar – that’s abundantly clear. I would like to see the CEO and the director of nursing out of there because, clearly, they have no moral standing. If you would do that to a child, as far as I’m concerned, they’re as bad as a pedophile – they’re serving them up; they’re putting them in a bedroom with known sexual predators, so how do they look themselves in the mirror? I don’t really know.”

More than a dozen former employees of MBHC compiled a collection of letters detailing alleged policy violations, HIPPA violations, employee discrimination, and various crimes such as falsification or destruction of legal documents, patient charts and other paperwork. This 27-page compilation has since been forwarded to various news agencies, Senator Joseph Donnelly, Governor Mike Pence, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, the Department of Labor, the State Department of Health, the Protection and Advices Service Commission of Indiana, the Department of Justice, CCHR International, the Family and Social Services Administration, the Joint Commission, Universal Health Services, Medicaid’s FSSA Compliance Division, and the Civil Rights Commission.

Attempts to reach the CEO of Michiana Behavior Health Center were unsuccessful, but officials at the center indicated he was out of town and will issue his response to these allegations at a later time.

Source: Ben Haut, “Protestors Claim Behavioral Health Center in Plymouth Puts Children in Danger, WKVI-FM 99.3, March 15, 2013.

March 14, 2013

Psychiatrist Harmadan Singh guilty of sexually assaulting female patient

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:37 pm

A psychiatrist from Hitchin has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman patient during a consultation.

Doctor Harmadan Singh said he asked to see the woman’s pubic hair because he thought she might be suffering from a hormone imbalance.

But the 30 year old woman told the jury later in the meeting with the psychiatrist he got her to pull down her trousers a second time.

She said throughout her two appointments with Doctor Singh, he had constantly wanted to talk about sexual matters with her.

“I couldn’t change the subject. It would always go back to my partner at the time and our sex life,” she said.

The 67 year old married psychiatrist was found guilty by a majority verdict of a charge of sexually assaulting the woman in March 2011 in his office at the mental health unit at the Queen Ellizabeth 11 Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.

After the verdict St Albans crown heard Doctor Singh has been suspended and his registration is now at risk.

Judge John Plumstead was told he is unlikely to ever practice again and is living on his pension.

Passing sentence the Judge told the disgraced doctor what he had done was a “breach of trust” which had caused the woman anxiety and distress and led to a worsening on the condition she was seeking his help for.

The judge said he had developed a “profound attraction” for the woman and he went on “You used your position to touch her intimately which she would never have allowed.”

He sentenced Singh who lives with his wife in Stevenage Road, Hitchin, Herts to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended it for two years.

Judge Plumstead told him that a condition of the suspended sentence was that in the future he couldn’t work as a psychiatrist or counsellor without a chaperone being present.

He was told he must pay his victim – who the judge said had been vindicated – £1500 as well as the prosecution’s costs of £3500 and his name will go on the sex offenders register for the next five years.

In early 2011, the victim was referred by her GP to the unit  suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks. She had suffered a miscarriage and was separated from her husband. She also thought she was promiscuous and had issues about facial and body hair.

“He was asking questions about sex and who I had slept with. Some of the things he said I thought were a bit strange” she told the court.

She said she felt “awkward” talking about sex with the psychiatrist and said “I was desperate for help, so I carried on.”

The woman said that as her session with the psychiatrist progressed, he again asked her to pull down her trousers for an intimate inspection to take place.

The woman said she thought it was weird, but added “I thought, he’s a doctor.  He is not someone who has just done a course off the internet.”

The jury heard that the during the weeks that followed, Mr Singh rang the woman at home six or seven times.

In 2012 that the woman contacted Hertfordshire Police and Mr Singh was arrested.

Giving evidence 67 year old Singh, who qualified as a doctor in India in 1971, said he carried out an intimate inspection solely on medical grounds

He said he now accepted that a chaperone should have been present and the best way to check for a hormone imbalance would have been by a blood test.

After the verdict Detective Constable Liz Heath from the Sexual Offences Investigation Team, based at Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, said: “Dr Singh was a man in a position of trust who preyed on a vulnerable victim under his care. The result indicates how seriously the courts take this type of crime and how Hertfordshire Constabulary will work tirelessly to ensure justice for the victims of sexual assaults and abuse.”

Source: Bela Shah, “Psychiatrist Guilty Of Sexual Assault,” Heart 97.6 (www.heart.co.uk), March 14, 2013.

UK authorities yank psychiatrist’s license after discovering Canada did the same last year

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:50 pm
THE High Court has ordered the suspension of a psychiatrist after it was discovered he had been found guilty in Canada of sexual misconduct involving three women patients.

Dr Bolarinwa Olutosin Oluwole, who had been working as a locum at a medical centre in Dublin until earlier this month, as well as for the Cavan/Monaghan Mental Health Service earlier this year, was struck off by the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) in Nova Scotia arising out of complaints made against him by the women.

All three had gone to him suffering from anxiety and depression while the he was practising as a consultant psychiatrist at Yarmouth

Regional Hospital, Nova Scotia, from January 2008 to March 2010.

He was struck off by the CPS in October 2012.

According to papers filed in the High Court, one of the women, who was seeking treatment over suicidal thoughts, alleged he took advantage of her by hugging, kissing and touching her, leading to sexual intercourse.

She also alleged he exchanged text messages of a sexual nature as well as gifts.

The second woman complained he commented on her appearance, attempted to hug her and touched her on the knee.

The third woman, who was treated between November 2009 and February 2010, said  he touched and fondled her leading to sexual intercourse during appointments.  She alleged he gave her a nickname and also gave her a greeting card.

Authorities at Yarmouth Hospital also found a CD of sexually explicit photographs of a woman along with condoms, sexual lubricant and a greeting card in his desk, the report of the CPS hearing into his misconduct stated.

Dr Oluwole, who graduated in medicine in Ibadan University in Nigeria, admitted sexual misconduct in a settlement agreement at the CPS hearing but denied having sex with the women.

Source: Tim Healy, “High Court orders suspension of psychiatrist over sex-with-patients allegation,” Irish Independent, March 11, 2013.

Arizona revokes license of counselor Rita Butler

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:23 am

On January 3, 2013, the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners accepted the surrender of licensed professional counselor Rita M. Butler’s license, deemed a revocation.

According to the Board’s document states that Butler treated a six-year-old client from 10/08 through 10/10, documenting that the child displayed symptoms of disassociative identity disorder (DID), though she had no training or experience in diagnosis or treating such symptoms.

She did not consult with anyone who had training in the area until 9/09.

Other practitioners rejected the DID diagnosis and an M.D. adamantly advised Butler not to address the child’s treatment in terms of DID, as it would risk harm to the child. However, she continued to treat the child in terms of DID, and her documentation chronicled the child’s deterioration during this time.

Additionally, Butler allowed the child to swim in her family’s pool, to have a “play date” with her granddaughter and invited the child’s family to swim in the pool. Among other things, she also transported the child to and from therapy appointments without written authorization.

Coroner finds psychiatric hospitals responsible in patient restraint deaths

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:23 am

National guidelines on restraining aggressive hospital patients are confusing and should be reviewed, a coroner says.

Hospitals needed consistent rules on how to restrain patients, Peter White said on Wednesday in giving his finding on the deaths of two Melbourne men in psychiatric units.

No patient should have pressure applied to their trunk while being restrained, he said.

Mr White found that Justin Fraser and Adam White died in 2007 as a result of the pressure applied to their trunks as they were wrestled to the ground at units run by Dandenong Hospital and Frankston Hospital.

He White said the men had heart conditions and the pressure applied to their abdomens led to their “avoidable” deaths.

He recommended that the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist issue a “practice guideline” on restraints.

He rejected Peninsula Health’s assertion that Mr Fraser died as a result of excited delirium at the Frankston Hospital’s psychiatric unit.

Mr White also called for qualified medical staff to be present and monitor a patient while restrained.

He said the review of the Victorian Mental Health Act to consider regulations for the safe physical restraint of patients.

Mrs Sharon Fraser and Mr White’s sister, Tracey Downward, called for any change to clauses on restraints be named in the honour of the dead men.

Mrs Fraser said she intended to pursue Peninsula Health through the courts as a result of the findings.

Ms Downward said her family had placed their trust in Dandenong Hospital to care for Mr White, 31, who had alcohol and substance abuse problems and a schizophrenia condition.

“It is good to hear today that the hospital was at fault, that the coroner has understood that, and that some changes can come of it,” Ms Downward said.

Peninsula Health’s clinical director of mental health, Dr Sean Jespersen, said the health network was saddened by Mr Fraser’s death.

“We participated fully in the inquest and will review the findings, respond to recommendations and make any appropriate further improvements,” Dr Jespersen said.

“We note the important balance between managing aggressive patients and maintaining a safe environment for patients and staff.

Mr White said both hospitals had made improvements as a result of the deaths.

Source: Deborah Gough, “Deaths in psychiatric units avoidable, says coroner,” The Age, March 13, 2013.

March 6, 2013

Police searching for former patients of psychiatrist Stanley Dobrowolski

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:48 pm

London Police are searching for dozens of women they say were recorded without their knowledge in the office of psychiatrist Stanley Dobrowolski.

Dobrowolski was arrested in November and charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of voyeurism.

In January, police executed a search warrant at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and reported finding evidence of seven additional cases of voyeurism.

Now police say an investigation into Dobrowolski’s computer and electronic storage devices has led them to believe there are 34 more women who were allegedly videotaped without their consent.

Police want to speak with any women who were patients of Dobrowolski’s between 2007 and 2012.

The psychiatrist’s medical license was suspended by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons in October 2012.

All cases brought to police will be handled sensitively.

Support for any women involved is available through the Sexual Assault Centre London at 519-438-2272.

Former patients should contact the London Police Service project personnel at 519-660-5842 or online at project@police.london.ca.

A lawyer for Dobrowolski was expected to appear in a London court room on Tuesday to speak to the sexual assault and voyeurism charges.

Source: “Police Search For Psychiatrist’s Patients,” BlackburnNews.com, March 5, 2013.

Psychiatrist charged with assaulting officers on night out

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:47 pm

Dr Seamus O Flaithbhear-taigh (51), who works with the HSE in Limerick, is due to appear before the District Court today.

The psychiatrist, who has an address at Castlemara, Annacotty, Limerick, has been charged with assaulting two garda officers in Limerick city on July 7.

The alleged offences took place on Denmark Street near the city centre.

He is charged with assault on Garda Jamie Rigney and assaulting Garda Margaret O’Brien during the execution of her duty.

Dr O Flaithbheartaigh has also been charged with intoxication in a public place on the same date.

It is understood the alleged offences took place while the defendant was on a night out with work colleagues.

The group had been socialising in Limerick city centre in the hours before the alleged incident and had gone to a restaurant for a meal beforehand.

Nightclubs

Some of the most popular pubs and nightclubs in Limerick city are located in Denmark Street.

It is understood that investigating gardai have taken a number of statements from witnesses to the alleged incidents.

Dr O Flaithbheartaigh continues to work with the HSE in Limerick in his role as a consultant psychiatrist.

When queried about the matter, the HSE said it had no comment to make at this time.

Source: Barry Duggan, “Psychiatrist charged with assaulting two gardai on night out,” Irish Independent, March 6, 2013.

March 1, 2013

Wisconsin psychiatrist David Israelstam charged with possession of child pornography

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:28 pm

A Madison psychiatrist who has been reprimanded twice in the past for inappropriate conduct with patients was charged Thursday with two counts of possession of child pornography.

Dr. David M. Israelstam, 73, was released on a signature bond after an initial court appearance Thursday morning.

Israelstam was ordered to have no contact with a computer technician and former patient who discovered pornography on his computer, nor with anyone under 18, and to not use any device capable of accessing the Internet. He is allowed contact with his two grandchildren if two adults are present.

On Thursday, an answering service said Israelstam’s office was temporarily closed until Monday. His attorney, Timothy Verhoff, declined to comment on whether Israelstam was seeing patients, or about the case.

Jeff Weigand, spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, which licenses psychiatrists in the state, said it had not received a complaint related to the current charges against Israelstam. After learning of the charges from the State Journal, Weigand said an investigation had been opened “as an immediate priority.”

“Appropriate action will be taken, as allowed by law, to protect the public,” Weigand said.

Madison police completed their investigation about a year ago and forwarded it to the Dane County District Attorney’s Office, police spokesman Joel DeSpain said.

According to a criminal complaint, on Sept. 17, 2011, a former patient of Israelstam who worked on his computers told police that he had discovered videos, which appeared to have been covertly recorded by Israelstam in his office, showing him having sex with adult women.

DeSpain said police were not able to positively identify a woman clearly visible in at least one of the videos.

According to the complaint:

One of the videos appeared to be recorded using a camera located in Israelstam’s shirt pocket. The computer technician told police Israelstam used a pen camera that Israelstam had asked him to set up, as well as a webcam, but he had refused.

The man also told police Israelstam had a large collection of pornographic videos in the basement closet of his home and “tons of pornography” in the trunk of his green Jaguar and another vehicle.

On Oct. 4, 2011, Madison police searched Israelstam’s residence on Arbor Vitae Place and his office at 330 S. Whitney Way.

Dozens of binders containing printed images of child pornography were taken from Israelstam’s residence. Digital images of child pornography dated from March 2003 to April 2011 also were found on a computer hard drive and a DVD.

Police also found nearly every wall space in Israelstam’s office was covered with photographs and drawings of predominantly young female faces.

A criminal analyst with the state Department of Criminal Investigation also found at least 64 digital images of adolescent girls in various provocative poses, some of whom were wearing revealing clothing, which had been taken in Israelstam’s office. Many of the images were of the same girl from the time she was in her mid-teens through her late teens.

Among the images on Israelstam’s office computers was a color photograph of a 3- to 5-year-old girl, which appears to have been taken in the kitchen area of Israelstam’s home, in which the child is lifting her shirt to reveal designs painted on her chest and torso.

Israelstam was reprimanded by the state Medical Examining Board in 2011 for a 2008 incident in which he told a female patient in her early 20s that he knew a young man with Asperger’s syndrome who was looking for a young woman with whom to have a sexual relationship and asked her if she would be interested.

In 2000, Israelstam was reprimanded for his conduct with another patient. In that case, he hugged a woman in her 30s several times while she was hospitalized after an overdose in 1995, and told the patient about problems he had with his mother, ex-wife and daughter. The patient also believed Israelstam was expressing sexual interest toward her during a discussion they had about sexual attraction.

In both cases, Israelstam attended programs on professional boundaries. He also paid a fine.

Source: Sandy Cullen, “Madison psychiatrist with history of inappropriate behavior charged with possessing child pornography,” Wisconsin State Journal, March 3, 2013.

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