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Fertility Doctor Jury Deadlocks

March 7, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ A jury has deadlocked in the insurance fraud trial of a prominent fertility doctor accused of tricking insurers into paying for treatments they didn’t cover.

Dr. Niels Lauersen shook his lawyer’s hand after the jury told the judge Monday that further deliberations would be futile. He declined comment.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley said another trial could get underway as early as next month.

Prosecutors alleged Lauersen, an obstetrician and gynecologist, stole more than $2 million from insurance companies over a 10-year period by falsely billing for fertility surgeries that weren’t covered by insurance.

Theodore D. Wells, Lauersen’s lawyer, said his 63-year-old client was a target for prosecutors and the insurance companies because he spoke out against the failure of most companies to pay for fertility procedures.

Some experts say that what Lauersen is accused of doing is a common, unspoken practice among many doctors.

Lauersen, the author of ``It’s Your Body,″ has appeared frequently on television and in publications as an expert on fertility matters, which make up about 10 percent of his practice.

Lauersen _ along with Dr. Magda Binion, an anesthesiologist _ is charged with conspiracy, health care fraud and mail fraud.

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