Health Care Fraud and Doctor Impersonation

by Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE

Medical Identity Theft

Health Care Fraud and Doctor Impersonation

Patrick Lynch, 54, the former owner of a medical company, impersonated a doctor by making house calls to elderly patients. He has been convicted of Medicare fraud and identity theft.

Lynch, of Toms River, pleaded guilty to unlawfully treating patients, prescribing medicine and ordering procedures while posing as a licensed physician. The scheme was described as Medicare fraud, and Lynch is to repay $40,000 for money he took from Medicare in fraudulent bills.

Lynch was ordered by the sentencing judge to participate in alcohol, drug, mental health and gambling treatment and imposed restrictions on gambling and self-employment. Lynch admitted he posed as a former doctor for Visiting Doctors of New Jersey, calling on hundreds of patients in Monmouth and Ocean counties, while writing prescriptions and billing Medicare.

Where do we even begin on this one? First, take note that fraud and identity theft could cost you more than just your money. In this case, the Medicare system was the financial victim, but consider all those patients treated – and medicated – by someone who was not a doctor? We can only hope and pray that he followed the first rule of medicine “do no harm”, but chances are that more than one of the victims was mis-treated.

But there are a number of lessons to be learned as individual consumers of health care services:

  • Check the doctors’ names on your state’s Medical Board website for proper licensing and for disciplinary action. If the doctor is not licensed in your state, do not let them treat you.Even if you find a license for them, check for any disciplinary action while you are there.
  • Look out for our seniors. Check out the credentials for those in your family or otherwise in your care, especially the elderly who may not be able to do this for themselves.
  • Be alert to signs of substance abuse in any professional attempting to ply his/her trade on you.  Addictions and medical illness often affect peoples’ actions; some of these afflictions can be sensed by smell (e.g., alcohol, smoked drugs). If you are in any way uncomfortable with the person taking care of you, don’t hesitate to send them away.
  • If you suspect Medicare or Medicaid fraud, report it to the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
  • If you suspect an elder is not being cared for properly contact Adult Protective Servicesin your state or the National Center on Elder Abuse to find resources in the state where the financial victim resides.

Don’t let an impersonator squander your financial benefits, endanger your life and deplete the assets of the U.S. Government.


Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, is a California attorney, insurance consultant and expert witness specializing in insurance issues including fraud. Mr. Zalma has also written a number of books and writes a free newsletter on insurance fraud. See his new program on insurance fraud, “Who Got Caught?” online at