Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Charges dropped against man accused of Medicare fraud at Hernando psychiatric practice

BROOKSVILLE — Kesmond Wilson had a checkered past when he bought a psychiatric practice in Hernando County two years ago.

At the time of the sale in September 2011, Wilson was on felony probation for fraud, grand theft and uttering a forged instrument. Two months later, Hernando sheriff's detectives accused the 34-year-old of using medical records at the practice to file more than 70 fraudulent billing transactions with Medicare. He was arrested and charged with 148 criminal counts.

On Wednesday, prosecutors dropped the case, just five days before Wilson was scheduled to stand trial on a consolidated charge of insurance fraud.

"The defendant turned over documents and materials that would tend to exonerate him, and in good faith I couldn't go forward with a criminal prosecution," Assistant State Attorney Rob Lewis said.

The roots of the case go back to when Dr. Leo Yason, a longtime Hernando County psychiatrist, agreed to sell his practice to an outfit called Wilson Group Billing Claims Health Care Management. The price of $300,000 was to be paid in installments. Wilson arranged for a reputable psychiatrist from Orlando to see patients twice a week, authorities said, and a nurse practitioner would take the rest.

The deal closed Sept. 12, 2011. Yason told investigators he didn't know that since 1999, Wilson had been charged with fraud at least five times, along with multiple counts of larceny, grand theft and forgery.

Hernando detectives say they later found that Wilson downloaded the patient records from Yason's practice to a laptop. They said Wilson eventually filed at least 74 billing transactions with Medicare by including Yason's name on bills for patients he didn't treat.

But records gathered in the discovery process showed Yason continued to see patients at the practice to make the transition go more smoothly, Lewis said.

"Mr. Wilson sending out bills for services provided by Dr. Yason is not against the law," Lewis said.

Wilson's attorney, Derek Saltsman, said Yason continued to see patients for a month and stayed involved with the business even longer. According to Saltsman, Wilson never submitted any bills himself. That task was handled by Yason's wife, who served as officer manager, and two other staffers who were familiar with the software.

"The State Attorney's Office did the right thing," Saltsman said. "There was nothing illegal done in this whole transaction."

Reach Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.

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