Dallas psychologist Michael Ellis Wolf was remanded into federal custody this week after pleading guilty to healthcare fraud, federal officials announced.
Wolf provided psychotherapy to individuals, including civilian employees of the federal government who sustained on-the-job injuries or employment-related occupational illness. The Federal Employees Compensation Act provides disability compensation benefits and payment for medical and rehabilitation care for federal civilian employees who sustain on-the-job injuries or employment-related occupational illness.
As part of his scheme to defraud a healthcare benefit program, Wolf filed claims for payment of services that were never rendered and for services that were rendered in far less quantities than billed.
For example, through his billings, Wolf claimed he provided therapy for one particular injured federal employee, from January 2008 through mid-2013, seven days a week, when he in truth and fact he would only provide it once or twice a week, for 60 minutes. He also falsely claimed through billings that he provided therapy to this individual on holidays and on Sundays, and that on multiple days, he provided eight hours of therapy, per day, for this patient. Wolf also falsely claimed, through billings, that he provided four-eight hours of explanations to this patient’s family and employers multiple times a week, when in fact, he only offered occasional phone or in-office consultation with the family.
During this time period, the total amount billed by Wolf, on behalf of this patient, was more than $1.9 million. Of the amount billed, Wolf was paid more than $1 million.
Wolf faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution, and he agrees to surrender his license to practice psychology. Sentencing is set for May 7.