Psychologist Joel Caldwell gets jail, probation for fraud
April 2, 2012
Syracuse, NY - A local psychologist accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid in a billing scam was sentenced today to five years' probation with the first 60 days to be served in jail.
Onondaga County Judge Anthony Aloi also ordered Joel Caldwell of Skaneateles to perform 400 hours of community service providing psychological services to local veterans from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.
"Your skills are sorely needed by a lot of the veterans," Aloi said. The judge said providing his psychological services to area veterans would be a way for Caldwell to start back on the road from "your terrible mistake."
Caldwell pleaded guilty Jan. 12 to a felony count of third-degree grand larceny involving allegations he billed Medicare and Medicaid for providing counseling services at area nursing homes when he failed to proved those services.
Caldwell admitted submitting fraudulent bills from Aug. 2, 2005, through Nov. 13, 2010, involving 11 nursing home facilities in Chittenango, Oneida, Clinton, Utica, Rome and New Hartford.
Joel Caldwell Sentencing Joel Caldwell Sentencing Joel Caldwell, a psychologist, being sentenced in Onondaga County Court, Syracuse, NY, on Medicaid fraud. Dick Blume/The Post Standard Watch video
Assistant Attorney General Ralph Tortora of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit said the criminal case involved allegations Caldwell stole $57,905. But there also is a pending civil case against Caldwell in which the state maintains he stole as much as $100,000 in the billing scam, Tortora said.
Caldwell today turned over through defense lawyer Kevin Murphy $50,000 in restitution as part of the plea deal to avoid a state prison sentence.
Aloi had promised to limit Caldwell's jail time to 60 days if the defendant made substantial restitution by sentencing.
The judge said it made no sense to have the state spend as much as $100,000 to house Caldwell in state prison for his crime when the defendant had skills that the court could have him put to use in the community.
Aloi then specified he wanted Caldwell to work with Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam era veterans with any psychological issues that needed to be addressed.
The judge said it appeared "greed had taken over" in Caldwell's life to account for his criminal conduct. Material things are nice to have but not at the sacrifice of the rights of innocent people, the judge noted.
"I deeply regret my actions," Caldwell told the judge.
Caldwell was taken into custody in court to immediately begin serving the jail part of his sentence at the Onondaga County Correctional Facility in Jamesville.
Post your own comment here: