June 07, 2006
D.A. Puts The Bite On Dentist
Perhaps Dr. David Brescia bit off a little more than he could chew. Last week the Riverhead dentist was arraigned on a 14-count indictment that charges him with insurance fraud and falsifying business records.
According to Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota, an investigation commenced late last year when patients noted discrepancies in their insurance documents. Concurrently, an insurance provider noted a different dentist making a claim for reimbursement for procedures Brescia allegedly had completed on the same patient.
Working with the state insurance department's fraud bureau, investigators from Spota's office determined that between December of 2004 and March of 2005, Brescia billed Met Life and the benefit funds from two unions for fluoride treatments, teeth cleanings, x-rays and fillings he allegedly did not administer. Adding teeth to the case was evidence that the suspect falsified patient records to include the never performed procedures, investigators say.
It gets worse. Investigators also charged Brescia with criminal diversion of prescription medication. They say he forced the office manager and dental assistant working at his Wading River office to obtain prescriptions for Valium, then hand them over to him for his personal use. Unlikely to win "boss of the year" award, Brescia did come up with the co-payment for the downers, it should be noted.
On Wednesday, Spota credited victims' alert monitoring of their insurance documents with providing a substantial foundation for the case. "The charges in Dr. Brescia's indictment are sustained by key physical evidence that outlines his fraud against insurance providers and his patients whose dental histories he used to further his scheme," Spota said. The DA described Brescia as "a medical professional who, as the evidence shows, has attempted to exploit our health care system to steal money."
Since he took office in 2002, Spota has nurtured a productive relationship with the state insurance department, collaborating to crack down on suspects attempting to commit insurance fraud. "This investigation is another example of the productive relationship this office enjoys with the state insurance department," he said, adding, "The expertise of state fraud investigators is a resource this office has frequently relied on to successfully prosecute medical providers, patients and others who commit insurance fraud."
Brescia was arraigned on Wednesday and released on his own recognizance. He's charged with three counts of felony insurance fraud, six counts of felony falsifying business records, and one felony count of scheme to defraud, plus one misdemeanor count of falsifying business records, and three misdemeanor counts diverting prescription medication. And that's a mouthful.