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January 18, 09

NEWS / NEW ORLEANS DOCTOR SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS, THREE MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR HEALTH CARE FRAUD VI


NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA -MARIA CARMEN PALAZZO, MD, PHD, MMM, age 57, a resident of New Orleans, was sentenced by U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon to eighty-seven (87) months imprisonment for 39 counts of health care fraud, announced U. S Attorney Jim Letten.In addition to the term of imprisonment, Judge Lemmon imposed restitution in the amount of $655,260.97 to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and three (3) years of supervised release following the term of imprisonment. During the three year term the defendant will be under federal supervision and risks an additional term of imprisonment should she violate any terms of her supervised release.

On April 16, 2008, DR. MARIA CARMEN PALAZZO, after 12 days of trial, DR. PALAZZO was convicted for defrauding Medicare in connection with services she did not render to patients in a Psychiatric Partial Hospitalization Program at Touro Infirmary. DR. PALAZZO also defrauded Medicare by submitting false and fraudulent invoices to Touro Infirmary for consulting and medical director services.

The Court imposed a sentence within the recommended guidelines range.

Speaking of today’s sentencing, Mike Fields, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Regional Office said:

“The Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services is committed to stamping out fraud, waste and abuse within the Medicare Program. Today’s sentencing of Dr. Maria Carmen Palazzo is a direct result of our successful efforts in this arena and should serve as a warning to other doctors and practitioners who would consider cheating the Medicare program.”

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Louisiana Medicaid Fraud and Control Unit The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrice Harris Sullivan and Sharon Smith.

 




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