Former Bobsledder Gets Seven Years
Jan. 11, 2002
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ A former Olympic bobsledder was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for what prosecutors described as ``a massive health insurance fraud.''
John C. Amabile, 39, of Spring Lake Heights, was convicted in October of conspiracy, attempted theft by deception, falsifying records and falsifying medical records by billing insurance carriers for more than $200,000 in procedures he never performed.
Prosecutors said Amabile lured patients to his office with promises of low-cost or free eyeglasses, then billed their insurance companies for procedures they never received.
``This is a serious case in which a medical professional deliberately tried to obtain money from insurance carriers by falsifying patient records and falsely billing insurance companies for fictitious optometric services,'' said Attorney General John J. Farmer Jr. ``This sentence is a victory for the citizens of New Jersey whose health care (costs) are inflated by such unscrupulous practitioners.''
In addition to the jail term, Amabile was fined $100,000 and ordered to make nearly $98,000 in restitution. The state is seeking an additional $810,000 in civil insurance fraud penalties against him.
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown said Amabile fraudulently billed 29 insurance companies covering 655 patients.
Amabile was convicted for activities that took place at his office between January 1994 and July 1996. His license was revoked in 1998.
He was a member of the Puerto Rican bobsled team that competed in the 1998 Nagano Games.