A Dix Hills psychologist has been arrested and charged with filing false health insurance claims in his job at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said Thursday.
Arrested was Joseph Gottesman, 43, the associate director of operations at Pilgrim.
Sini and New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro said he obtained more than $132,000 from the Empire Plan/UnitedHealthcare insurance company by submitting hundreds of false claims under his wife’s name for services that were never provided. He is charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a C felony, and Insurance Fraud in the Second Degree, a C felony.
“The brazenness and extent of this fraudulent scheme is shocking,” Sini said. “We will not stand to have hardworking New Yorkers foot the bill for criminals who think they can get away with gaming the system for their own personal benefit. I thank Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro for continuing to partner with my office to uncover fraud and protect taxpayers’ money.”
The investigation determined that Gottesman fabricated 448 claims by stealing the identity of at least six different out-of-network (non-participating) medical providers.
Investigators said that Gottesman submitted three false claims for his wife for services from three different providers in January 2019. However, credit card purchases and social media postings show that she was in Florida then. He also submitted a false claim for his wife for services on Feb. 16, 2019, they said, but her Facebook postings show she was on vacation in Aruba at that time.
Gottesman is on administrative leave from the center.
He was arraigned Wednesday in Suffolk County First District Court and released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on Dec. 15. If convicted of the top count, Gottesman faces a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison.