Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Plymouth psychologist pleads guilty to Medicaid fraud

For those of you familiar with the real story behind "The Night Listener", you definitely know the Zackheims. Here is an update on Marc Zackheim.

By PABLO ROS, Tribune Staff Writer
Story Created: Mar 3, 2009 at 4:27 PM EDT
Story Updated: Mar 3, 2009 at 4:27 PM EDT

SOUTH BEND — A Plymouth psychologist has pleaded guilty to health care fraud for falsely billing Indiana Medicaid of more than $100,000, according to documents filed in court this week.

Marc Allen Zackheim was a licensed psychologist and owner of Associates in Clinical Psychology P.C., a domestic professional corporation, according to court documents filed in the South Bend division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.

Zackheim was the subject of a criminal trial in 2006 in which he was acquitted of battery for inappropriately touching boys who lived at the ACP home in Plymouth.

But for about three years ending in June 2008, according to court documents, Zackheim and his corporation defrauded Indiana Medicaid, a health care benefit program, by filing billings and claims for reimbursement for therapies that were never provided to patients, were not medically necessary or were not entitled under Medicaid.

Zackheim also admitted to making up diagnoses and listing them in fraudulent authorization requests sent to Indiana Medicaid. He also filed for reimbursement from Medicaid before therapies were provided to patients or for therapies never provided, and Indiana Medicaid was billed for services allegedly provided to individuals who were not patients of ACP, according to court documents.

The total payments made to the defendants as a result of fraud totaled $137,000, according to court documents.

Zackheim, 58, faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while his corporation could be fined up to $500,000. Zackheim also has agreed to pay full restitution to Medicaid.

In 2006, a jury in Plymouth acquitted Zackheim of one felony count of practicing medicine without a license and three misdemeanor counts of battery for inappropriately touching boys who were his patients in 2003 and 2004.

Zackheim is expected to go before a judge Thursday for a plea hearing.

Webmaster's note:  Marc Allen Zackheim is the husband of Victoria Fraginals Zackheim, the woman whose fraudulent invention of an ailing child inspired Armistead's novel, The Night Listener.


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