DOUBLE TROUBLE: ATLANTA DOCTOR ALLEGEDLY DEFRAUDS MEDICARE AND IRS OF $16 MILLION

Photobucket BUCKHEAD, GEORGIA – Dr. Lawrence Eppelbaum, 52, asserts “I will win 100 percent” against the U.S. Department of Justice’s claims the doctor defrauded both Medicare and the IRS using a bogus non-profit organization to provide kickbacks to patients, fund an area Jewish day school and file false charitable deduction claims to avoid federal tax debt. The Justice Department says he also filed claims for unnecessary treatments.
An Eppelbaum patient has also filed suit claiming the doctor violated federal laws with prohibited incentives to lure patients, such as free travel, meals and entertainment, including trips to hot springs for treatment. The attorney for the client, Marlon Wilbanks, states that Eppelbaum targeted Russian-speaking U.S. residents with known back pain issues. To the non-English speaking patients, free is a wonderful opportunity. Wilbanks calls it a “fairy tale trip.”
Eppelbaum was also indicted on tax evasion and abuse of charitable organizations, which doesn’t simply cheat the IRS, but also the rest of the American taxpayers, says Reginael McDaniel, special agent in charge of the Atlanta Region IRS criminal investigations. The indictment alleges that Eppelbaum set up a non-profit organization, the Back Pain Fund, and arranged with the Torah Jewish Day School in Atlanta for parents to pay their children’s tuition to the fund as a “donation.” Eppelbaum would then donate the full amount of the tuition back to the school, plus 25 percent. A school spokesperson denies the school knew of any wrongdoing.
It also seems Eppelbaum entered similar arrangements with other organizations and encouraged patients to pay their co-pays to the Back Pain Fund in exchange for a charitable contrition receipt that they could use on their taxes. Eppelbaum states he has no idea why he was indicted and believes himself to be the victim in the case; “because we’re a successful practice, and I’m a successful rich guy.”