Psychologist Michael Miran pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud, must repay $250K

July 30, 2010

A Brighton psychologist and his wife must repay more than $250,000 after each pleaded guilty Thursday morning to crimes involving Medicaid and Medicare fraud.

Psychologist Michael Miran, 65, pleaded guilty to second-degree offering a false instrument for filing, a misdemeanor. Esta Miran, 64, pleaded guilty to first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, a felony.

A guilty plea against the corporation Michael Miran Ph.D, Psychologist P.C., for second-degree grand larceny was entered by attorney John Parrinello, who represented Michael Miran and the corporation.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Richard Dollinger scheduled sentencing for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 28. Contingent upon reports from the Monroe County Office of Probation, Michael and Esta Miran each are expected to receive a maximum of 250 hours of community service and a joint restitution payment of $250 per month. Michael Miran is expected to be on supervised probation for three years and Esta Miran for five.

The couple had been indicted in July 2009 on 31 felony counts of defrauding the state Medicaid and the federal Medicare programs of $257,946.93. The charges followed an investigation by the state attorney general's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that covered from 2003 into 2006.

The restitution schedule could be adjusted if the Mirans encounter significant changes in their finances. "Our calculation...given their life expectancy would be somewhere between $60,000 and $75,000," Parrinello said.

A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office said that the restitution will be filed as a judgment against the defendants, meaning that if they died before paying the money the estate could be liable for the remaining amount.

Michael Miran no longer will be allowed to bill Medicaid or Medicare.

The pleas resolve all the charges against the Mirans and came after lengthy negotiations, according to their attorneys.

"It was a difficult case," said Matthew Lembke, who represented Esta Miran. "There were complex legal issues."

"There were a lot of negotiations and conditions for both sides," Parrinello said.

Michael Miran was allowed to plead to a misdemeanor to reduce the risk of losing his license. The plea will be referred to the state Department of Education, which along with the Board of Regents oversees the professions. Michael Miran is listed on the Department of Education website as being registered through February 2013. Esta Miran does not hold a professional license.

The Mirans also waived their right to appeal, except on the issue of jurisdiction.

Parrinello said that because the billing in question was for Medicare patients who were subject to Medicaid copayments, the state attorney general did not have jurisdiction. Two motions to dismiss the case had been denied, most recently on Wednesday.

Source: Patti Singer, "Psychologist, wife agree to repay $250,000, Democrat and Chronicle, July 30, 2010.


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