Pain doctor’s bank accounts frozen in fraud probe

Federal authorities have frozen the bank accounts of a Hyattsville pain doctor as they investigate whether his office submitted millions of dollars in fraudulent claims to Medicare and other health insurance programs.

According to documents filed by the FBI in federal court in the District last week, investigators found that Dr. Martin R. McLaren received more than $6.5 million from various health insurance programs “based on his submission of fraudulent billing.”

Authorities seized personal bank accounts in the name of Dr. McLaren and his wife worth $714,165 and are pursuing another $5.8 million, according to an FBI affidavit.

The assets were frozen nearly a year after FBI agents seized a Porsche belonging to Dr. McLaren, who runs the Pain Management Center about a block outside the District on New Hampshire Avenue.

Kirby D. Behre, an attorney for Dr. McLaren, said this week that his client has not been charged criminally.

He told The Washington Times that the investigation could be resolved in civil court “if in fact there were billing errors.”

“Just because it’s alleged doesn’t mean it’s true,” Mr. Behre said.

According to search warrant affidavits, Medicare claims indicate that patients received services from Dr. McLaren while authorities said he was in Barbados.

Investigators said Dr. McLaren’s office billed for some procedures for which the doctor did not have equipment, the affidavit states.

A former office worker told authorities that Dr. McLaren instructed her to remove computers, charts and medication from his office because he feared federal agents would execute a search warrant, according to the affidavit.

Dr. McLaren told investigators, however, that the employee was embezzling money from the practice, according to the FBI document.

Investigators are looking into the overall finances of the medical practice, including payments to Dr. McLaren’s wife, who earned about $820,000 in 2004, according to federal affidavits.

An FBI agent stated in an affidavit that payments to Dr. McLaren’s wife “do not appear to be warranted given McLaren’s statement in an interview … that she occasionally takes dictation.”

Authorities said there is “probable cause to believe” that some of the millions of dollars generated from billings suspected as fraudulent landed in the personal bank accounts of Dr. McLaren and his wife, according to the affidavit. The affidavit does not say whether Dr. McLaren’s wife is a focus of the investigation.

According to public records, Dr. McLaren completed graduate medical school at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica in 1968. He completed an internship at Princess Margaret Hospital in the Bahamas in 1970 and served as an assistant professor at Howard University’s College of Medicine from 1973 to 1982.

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