Medical practice manager goes to prison for billing, tax fraud

Hands clutching prison bars
A practice manager from Oregon will go to prison on fraud charges.

An Oregon man who was practice manager at his father’s eye clinic was sentenced to jail this week for falsely billing insurers and tax fraud.

Anthony C. Neal, 41, was sentenced by an Oregon District Court judge to one year and one day in federal prison, followed by three years of probation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. He pleaded guilty last year to engaging in a seven-year healthcare fraud scheme and conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

In his sentencing this week, he was ordered to pay over $1.7 million to Medicare, Care Oregon and several private health insurance companies and $817,378 to the IRS.

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Neal and his deceased father, Dean Neal, M.D., operated 20/20 Eye Care, an ophthalmology clinic in Gresham, Oregon. The doctor, 80, died from a stroke in 2015 before federal prosecutors could charge him in the scheme, according to The Oregonian.

Prosecutors said Neal and his father fraudulently billed insurance plans for medically unnecessary diagnostic tests and also submitted bills for higher-cost tests. They then fraudulently double-billed insurance plans.

They also used a straw company to conceal business revenue and personal income that was not reported to the IRS, prosecutors said. Neal and his father used money from the eye clinic to pay for nearly $3 million in personal expenses, including partial construction of a multimillion-dollar home for the defendant, complete with a helipad and tennis pavilion.

A defense attorney argued that the eye doctor was the mastermind behind the fraud scheme and said Neal, who suffers from autism spectrum disorder, was manipulated by his abusive father, according to The Oregonian report.