Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dentist Targeted by Eliot Spitzer for Medicaid Fraud to Get Day in Court

After Eliot Spitzer's accusations of Medicaid fraud fell apart, Dr. Leonard Morse filed a $75 million lawsuit for ruining his reputation.
Now, this should be an interesting trial.
A Brooklyn dentist whose career was ruined after former state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer made him a poster boy for Medicaid fraud will get his day in court, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Robert Levy said the false arrest and malicious prosecution claims detailed in Dr. Leonard Morse's $75 million suit should be decided by a jury, a 36-page report unsealed this week in Brooklyn Federal Court shows.

The suit contends Morse was the victim of a Spitzer witchhunt in 2006, when the hard-charging prosecutor was running for governor.

After Spitzer's political opponents branded him soft on Medicaid fraud, he targeted Morse, who was one of the top billers in the state, the suit claims.

Morse was charged with stealing more than $1 million in false billings for dentures. His arrest was trumpeted in a press release translated into several languages, including Russian and Korean.

The criminal case against Morse fell apart during a bench trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court with shaky witnesses and serious gaps in the evidence.

Spitzer deputy John Fusto, of the state's Medicaid fraud unit, was forced to concede that billing records only showed a theft of $3,000. Morse was found not guilty of all charges. Fusto is also being sued.
Usually government officials have immunity from prosecution and civil liability if they are acting within the scope of their duties in good faith. So, the good dentist may be able to clear his name, but as to receiving money damages, I don't know about that.

A good example as to why dentists should avoid Medicaid.

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