Psychiatrist Alberto Cervantes was sentenced to 7 months in prison on Wednesday. Cervantes pleaded guilty to defrauding Virginia Medicaid and United Healthcare by billing insurance programs while carrying out a sexual relationship with one of his patients.
Cervantes was formerly employed by Mountain States Medical Group and Russell County Medical Center as a psychiatrist, where the sexual relationship started.
According to a release, the relationship started in February of 2012 and continued until February of 2014, resulting in the patient attempting suicide. During the span of the two-year relationship, Cervantes fraudulently billed United Healthcare in the amount of $1,508 for psychiatric care for the patient, causing Virginia Medicaid to be fraudulently billed $9,313, for prescription medications he wrote for that patient, when no legitimate psychiatric care was occurring.
“This case involved both unlawful conduct that cheated taxpayers and unethical conduct that could have compromised the well-being of a patient,” says Attorney General Mark Herring. “Local, state, and federal partners will remain vigilant against this kind of conduct and will hold perpetrators accountable.”
Authorities say in addition to serving 7 months in jail Cervantes is ordered to pay a fine of $25,000, restitution in the amount of $3,131.20, and is required to serve a two-year term of supervised release after his time in prison. As a condition of his guilty plea Cervantes agreed to never practice medicine again. His medical and DEA registration was revoked in 2015.