Attorney General Recovers $500,000 In Settlement With St. Lawrence County Physician For Medicaid Overbillings

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a former Massena obstetrician has agreed to repay $500,000 to taxpayers for having overbilled the State for obstetric deliveries that he did not make and for prenatal care that he had already been paid for.

In agreeing to the settlement, Dr. Charles M. Momah made an initial down payment of $350,000 earlier this year and provided a promissory note for $150,000, payable, with interest, in one year.

"The taxpayer-funded Medicaid program was designed to assist citizens in need, not enrich doctors," said Attorney General Spitzer. "The recovery of this money by my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will go a long way in ensuring that those needs are properly met."

The settlement is based on independent audits conducted by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) and the State Health Department. In reviewing Dr. Momah's Medicaid claims for obstetric deliveries and total obstetric care, the audits revealed that between January 1990 and December 1994, Dr. Momah received Medicaid reimbursement for deliveries he did not provide for dozens of women in the St. Lawrence County area. He was also paid for prenatal care he actually provided but for which he had already been compensated by the St. Lawrence County Prenatal Care Assistance Program (PCAP).

Dr. Momah maintained a practice at 24 Hospital Drive in Massena from 1989 until 1993, when he moved to Bellevue, Washington. In February 1997, Dr. Momah was indicted for submitting more than $366,000 in false Medicaid claims for deliveries not performed and for prenatal care already reimbursed through the PCAP program. He was acquitted after a jury trial in August 1999.

Spitzer noted that, including the most recent settlement, civil actions by his MFCU over the last five months have resulted in the recovery to taxpayers of nearly $9 million in Medicaid overpayments.

The investigation was conducted by Special Assistant Attorney General Norman S. Hatt, of the Syracuse Regional Office of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.