- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A western Pennsylvania doctor wanted on health care fraud and income tax charges has been arrested in Panama and will be returned for prosecution by federal authorities in Johnstown.

Dr. William Acosta, 64, a neurologist who formerly practiced in Johnstown, was arrested last month WJAC-TV (http://bit.ly/1hBiva4 ) reported. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh said Acosta was being held Thursday in a federal detention center in Ohio until his appearance before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh on Monday.

According to a criminal complaint filed in early 2008, the federal Department of Health and Human Services began investigating Acosta as early as 2001, when the Cambria County Drug Task Force alerted federal law enforcement agents that Acosta was suspected of over-prescribing narcotics.

Though no charges resulted from those allegations, the HHS Office of Inspector General concluded that Acosta was overbilling private insurance companies and Medicare for services not rendered. The Internal Revenue Service then concluded that Acosta didn’t properly report his income.

According to the HHS complaint, the investigation dragged on until April 2006, when Acosta hired a defense attorney and was supposed to let federal prosecutors in Johnstown know whether he’d be willing to plead guilty to the tax charges. Instead, Acosta flew to his native Dominican Republic with his son a few days later, and was followed by his wife and other children that August.

Acosta’s attorney, Stanley Greenfield, wasn’t available for comment Thursday.

Federal prosecutors plan to ask a judge to jail Acosta until trial because he has been a fugitive for eight years.

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