Probation, restitution, hefty fine for former Texarkana foot doctor

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A podiatrist who once operated Dr. Petty’s foot clinic in Texarkana, Texas, was sentenced to five years federal probation Tuesday for healthcare fraud.

Glenn Gregg Petty, 53, appeared for sentencing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas with Texarkana attorney Thomas Johnson. Petty pleaded guilty in September to a single count of healthcare fraud listed in an indictment accusing him of 22 counts of healthcare fraud and nine counts of aggravated identity theft. The remaining counts against Petty were dismissed Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker told Schroeder that Petty’s cooperation is instrumental to a larger nationwide investigation of healthcare-related fraud. Locker said a sentencing memorandum detailing Petty’s assistance to the government has been filed under seal because the investigation is ongoing.

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Locker did say that the larger investigation involves the marketing of laboratory tests. A “marketer” provides compensation to healthcare providers who order tests for patients which are later billed to insurance, including government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, Locker said. Millions of dollars paid for unnecessary lab tests and in kickbacks to complicit healthcare providers could be recouped later by the government.

Locker said that while the public may be dissatisfied with the outcome of Petty’s individual case, the fruits of the broader investigation into fraud on a substantially larger scale warranted granting some concessions in sentencing.

Locker said Petty is not getting away with a slap on the wrist.

Texas has taken steps to revoke Petty’s podiatry license, a circumstance which means Petty must find an alternative way of making a living as a convicted felon. Petty filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and many of his assets, including a long list of properties in the Texarkana area, are being sold to satisfy the $157,660 Petty owes in restitution.

Petty pleaded guilty to billing Medicare for “therapeutic exercises” conducted with patients when in reality he sent them home with a sheet of paper with instructions on how to exercise. Among the allegations made in some of the dismissed charges are that Petty billed Medicare for services performed on patients who were deceased at the time Petty claimed to have treated them.

Locker and Schroeder mentioned a prior criminal case filed against Petty in 2004 for healthcare fraud. Petty was allowed to complete a program of pretrial diversion in that case and escaped a final felony conviction and loss of podiatry license.

Locker recommended that the court assess a fine equal to the amount of restitution Petty must pay. Schroeder agreed and ordered Petty to pay $157,660 in restitution, a $157,660 fine and ordered that interest will accrue on both until the balances are fully paid.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Wells said Petty’s bankruptcy filing will not affect the government’s ability to collect and said that some of the restitution has already been collected through the sale of Petty’s assets.

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