An OBGYN who lives in Lawrence allegedly defrauded Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan out of about $267,000 by diverting his patients insurance checks to his own bank account, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced Wednesday.
Lawrence Levitan, 58, is charged in New York State Supreme Court with second- and third-degree grand larceny, third- and fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, and multiple counts of offering a false instrument for filing and falsifying business records in the first degree.
According to documents filed in court, Levitan, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Beth Israel, worked under a plan where he was supposed to split payments evenly with the hospital.
Unlike many other doctors working under that plan, Levitan handled his own billing, submitting bills directly to insurance companies and personally receiving his patients’ insurance checks by mail, according to the court documents. Levitan was required to submit these checks to a third party that would keep records and deposit the funds into a Beth Israel account. Beth Israel would then send Levitan’s share to him in the form of a paycheck, with taxes and other withholdings deducted.
But between February 2010 and September 2012, Levitan instead allegedly deposited at least 685 of his patients’ insurance checks, totaling more than $530,000, directly into his personal bank account. The alleged fraud caused Beth Israel to underreport the the doctor’s taxable wages in 2010 and 2011.
“Physicians are sworn to ‘do no harm,’ but Dr. Levitan is charged with doing just that by depositing hundreds of his patients’ insurance checks directly into his personal bank account,” Vance said in a release. “The scheme caused Beth Israel Medical Center to be defrauded out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. My office, with the help of our partners in law enforcement, will continue to root out and prosecute those who commit fraud in our city.”
Levitan announced on his Facebook page in June that he was retiring from his OBGYN practice due to a hand and wrist injury.