Former Caro podiatrist pleads guilty to health care fraud
BAY CITY — A former Caro podiatrist has pleaded guilty to health care fraud, agreeing to pay back $670,892 for toenail-removal procedures he never performed during an eight-year period.
Dr. Mark Steven Khoury, 61, of Bloomfield Hills, entered the plea May 25 in U.S. District Court in Bay City.
Health care fraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of Khoury’s gain – which would amount to $1,341,784.
A sentencing date hasn’t been set for Khoury, who submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare from January of 2010 to March of 2018, according to his plea agreement.
During that time frame, Khoury, owner of M. Steven Khoury, D.P.M., P.L.L.C., fraudulently billed Medicare $1,407,294 for nail avulsions he didn’t perform, receiving the $670,892 on those false claims.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older, and for the disabled.
In 2017, Khoury received $125 each time he billed Medicare while fraudulently claiming he performed a nail avulsion, which is the surgical removal of “an offending toenail from the nail bed, extending from the tip of the nail back to the nail matrix (at the base of the nail),” according to court documents.
Using statistics provided in court documents, Khoury would have submitted approximately 5,367 fraudulent claims to Medicare for nail avulsions he didn’t perform from 2010 into 2018.
As part of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss two other charges of health care fraud.
Khoury told The Advertiser for a March 2018 article announcing his retirement that the couldn’t be more pleased that he was able to serve Tuscola County residents with honor for more than 30 years.
Though a federal judge will determine the guideline range for Khoury’s prison sentence, prosecutors agree to recommend that Khoury receive a reduction in his sentence because he has accepted responsibility.
Prosecutors also agree to recommend that Khoury’s term of imprisonment “not exceed the bottom of (his) guideline range” as determined by a federal judge.
Khoury, however, has no right to withdraw his guilty plea if the judge chooses not to follow prosecutors’ recommendation, according to the plea agreement.
Khoury agrees to pay restitution of $670,892 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He also must make a “full presentence disclosure of his financial status” to prosecutors to determine his ability to pay restitution.
The plea agreement also calls for Khoury to forfeit to the government any real or personal property “that constitutes or is derived … from gross proceeds traceable to the” health care fraud.
The agreement calls for a “forfeiture money judgment” to the U.S. government, equal to the amount of restitution to be paid at the time of sentencing. Khoury will be allowed to use property to help satisfy the forfeiture money judgment.
If Khoury pays the $670,892 of restitution before or at his sentencing, no forfeiture money judgment will be entered against him, according to the plea agreement.