Jesup, Ga. family physician sentenced for health care fraud

A 43-year-old Jesup family physician was sentenced Monday to 34 months in federal prison for conspiring to commit health care fraud.

The sentence Chief U.S. District Judge William T. Moore imposed on Randy Scott Lentz is short of the maximum five years, but Moore also sentenced him to pay $248,755 in restitution and serve three years on probation.

A doctor since 2001, Lentz also faces the loss of his medical license.

Lentz said nothing as he stood before Moore in a Savannah courtroom more than two years after pleading guilty. In granting leniency, Moore said the sentence would serve as a deterrent but would not unduly punish Lentz's patients, the community or his family.

Moore also sentenced Scott Thomas Bowlin, a former physical therapist charged in the scheme.

Bowlin, 46, of Rochester, N.Y., was sentenced to 19 months in prison and three years of probation and ordered to pay $19,839 in restitution.

Bowlin apologized for his role in the scheme and thanked Moore for showing him mercy. Bowlin had been licensed to practice in Florida and Georgia, but those licenses have expired, state records showed.

A 106-count indictment returned in 2006 charged Lentz and his 34-year-old wife, Rebecca, along with Bowlin and his 43-year-old wife, Kim, with conspiracy and health care fraud.

Both couples were charged with conspiring to defraud Medicare and Georgia Medicaid from August 2004 through April 2005, the indictment stated.

The scheme included billing Medicare and Medicaid for physical therapy and other services that were never provided and for unnecessary services, according to the indictment.

Lentz and his wife operated Lentz Medical Practice and the adjacent World Gym in Jesup. The Bowlins operated Total Rehab and Wellness, a physical therapy facility in Richmond Hill, where they lived. Randy Lentz referred patients to his gym for cardiac rehab and billed Medicare and Medicaid, court documents showed.

On Nov. 7, 2007, on the third day of his trial, Randy Lentz pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Bowlin had pleaded guilty on Oct. 29, 2007. He told Moore that he had agreed "from day one" with Lentz to a 50-50 split of the scheme's illegal proceeds.

In exchange for the men's pleas, the government dismissed the other 105 charges against them. Moore ordered the men to surrender to prison by Feb. 2.

The government agreed to dismiss the charges against Kim Bowlin and Rebecca Lentz in exchange for their participation in a pretrial diversion program.

FBI agents and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services authorities began investigating Lentz and Bowlin in July 2005 after a tip to the department's fraud hot line.

Reach teresa.stepzinski@jacksonville.com, (912) 264-0405

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