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Former LI chiropractor gets 18 months for insurance fraud, officials say

A chiropractor who used to operate offices in West Hempstead and Hicksville was sentenced in federal court Friday to 18 months in prison for committing health care fraud, according to officials.

Raymond Pellegrino, 50, who now lives in McKinney, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was also ordered to forfeit $504,000 and pay restitution of more than $2.4 million to the health insurance company he defrauded, by U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert in Central Islip.

“Pellegrino abused his chiropractic license by manipulating insurance claims instead of patients’ muscles, and now will pay the price for stealing millions of dollars from an insurance company,” Richard Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

According to officials, between December 2013 and September 2014, Pellegrino used the identification number of two medical doctors who worked for him part time to fraudulently submit claims to Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield for osteopathic manipulations and other services that the doctors had supposedly performed. Pellegrino, as a result, received more than $2.4 million from Anthem for the nonexistent services, officials said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Kelly wrote in court papers that in the case of one medical doctor who worked for Pellegrino for only a few days, he billed the insurance company for $661,000 and received back $440,000.

In the case of the second doctor who worked for Pellegrino for four months, Kelly wrote that he billed the insurance company for $4 million inprocedures and received back $2 million.

Pellegrino used an elaborate scheme, involving a number of corporate entities  that initially received the insurance company payments, to evade procedures used to monitor reimbursements he would receive directly, officials said.

The case was investigated jointly by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the New York State Department of Financial Services, officials said. 

Prosecutor Kelly declined to comment afterward.

Pellegrino’s attorney, John Kaley, said later that his client, who has been working in construction, was “remorseful and has accepted responsibility for what he has done and is going to make amends, and hopefully start a new life when he gets out.”

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