Richard N. Schott, 51, of Murfreesboro, was sentenced Friday to 33 months in federal prison for operating a scheme to defraud healthcare benefit programs, according to a press release by U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Chief U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr., also ordered Schott to pay $956,448.00 in restitution.
Schott, a licensed dentist, and his former practice administrator, Kendra Glenn, were charged in November 2018 with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, Cochran said. Schott pleaded guilty in November and Glenn, also facing seven counts of healthcare fraud, is scheduled for trial on Dec. 3.
Schott owned and operated Dental Excellence, a dental practice with three locations in Murfreesboro and one location in Lebanon. Between November 2013 and January 2018, Schott caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to healthcare benefit programs, including Delta Dental, Cigna, TennCare and DentaQuest, TennCare’s dental benefits program administrator, Cochran said.
The fraudulent claims included billing for dental work that had not been completed or performed at all; falsifying dates of service to appear to comply with benefit programs’ timeframe and preauthorization requirements; and falsifying claims to appear that services had been rendered by a benefits program credentialed dentist.
Schott took steps to conceal the fraud by discouraging employees from questioning billing practices; instructing employees to lie if questioned by insurance companies; and disciplining and even firing employees who questioned the legality of the billing practices, Cochran said. Schott allegedly used the proceeds from the fraudulent scheme for his own personal use and paid bonuses to Glenn based on the amount of money collected from the fraudulent scheme.
As a result, many patients were forced to wait months and even years in pain, to have necessary dental work completed by other dentists, while their insurance companies resolved the false claims.