New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang announced the sentencing today of Spyros Panos to 111 months in prison following his plea to charges of health care fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft as part of a scheme to defraud medical record review companies of more than $875,000.
A former doctor himself, Panos surrendered his medical license in 2013 in connection with a guilty plea to federal health care fraud, for which he subsequently served 54 months in prison. After surrendering his own license, and both before and after serving his sentence, Panos used the medical credentials of a Westchester orthopedic surgeon without his knowledge to secure work with five separate peer review companies. Unbeknownst to the surgeon whose identity he stole, Panos reviewed patient files in connection with Workers’ Compensation claims and health care appeals, receiving approximately $876,000 in compensation from the five companies for the work.
“New Yorkers deserve to have faith in the Workers Compensation system and the medical professionals they entrust with their health,” said New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang. “I commend the team that unraveled and exposed this scheme. New Yorkers should keep faith in our most important systems knowing that the Inspector General’s Office is standing watch.”
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Spyros Panos, a former surgeon who surrendered his license to practice medicine after a prior conviction for health care fraud in this District, abused our healthcare system for his own personal profit again, and he is now facing a return to prison. The sentence he received appropriately reflects the seriousness of his crime and of recidivism in the eyes of the law.”
Postal Inspector in Charge of the New York Division Daniel B. Brubaker said: “I would like to thank New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang and our other law enforcement partners for their outstanding work. Today’s sentencing brings to a close Mr. Panos’ unscrupulous scheme to defraud the Workers Compensation system, medical professionals and the public. Even after serving years in prison for health care fraud, Mr. Panos wasted no time returning to his old, corrupt ways and stole the identity of another licensed physician to continue his deceptive practices for monetary gain. He will now have to pay for his life of crime. The Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service. Our proud and long-standing mission is to protect our employees, infrastructure and customers from criminals. Any time the U.S. Mail is used in furtherance of a crime, Postal Inspectors will be there to hold criminals responsible for their actions.”
Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Susan Frisco said: "By assuming the identity of a licensed doctor, Panos undermined patient trust and the integrity of the medical community. HHS-OIG is proud to work alongside our law enforcement partners to investigate such egregious conduct.”
Lang thanked Deputy Inspector General Jean M. Carsey and Senior Investigator Dave Regazzi for their work on the investigation, with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Margery B. Feinzig and Lindsey Keenan of the Southern District of New York.