Roswell doctor sentenced for Medicare fraud

Eppelbaum gets 50 months, $3.5M charge

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ROSWELL, Ga. – Lawrence Eppelbaum, 54, of Roswell, was sentenced to 50 months in prison Feb. 20 and fined $3.5 million following his trial conviction on health care fraud, tax fraud and money laundering charges.

Dr. Eppelbaum owned the Atlanta Institute of Medicine and Rehabilitation (AIMR) and the Pain Clinic of AIMR in Atlanta. In 2004, Eppelbaum created the “Back Pain Fund,” a purported charitable organization that he controlled. Eppelbaum, through the Back Pain Fund, paid for Medicare patients to travel to Atlanta to receive medical treatment from his practice, then travel to Florida to visit a local hot spring for approximately four days, before returning to Atlanta to receive additional treatment.

These trips were paid for by Eppelbaum and the Back Pain Fund. Eppelbaum used money from donors to pay for the trips, then billed Medicare and made a profit. Between 2004 and 2009, Eppelbaum treated hundreds of Back Pain Fund patients and received approximately $16 million for their treatment from Medicare.

Eppelbaum also used the Back Pain Fund to commit tax fraud. Between 2006 and 2008, Eppelbaum deducted as charitable donations all the payments he made to the Back Pain Fund, the Torah Day School and other organizations with which he had a financial arrangement, even though Eppelbaum derived substantial personal income from treating Back Pain Fund patients. He evaded approximately $1 million in federal income taxes through his scheme.

“In addition to abusing the Medicare system, Eppelbaum committed tax fraud by claiming contributions to charitable organizations that he did not make,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, special agent in charge with IRS Criminal Investigation. “The sentence announced today reinforces the commitment by law enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office that individuals who steal from the government will be held accountable.”

Eppelbaum was convicted in June 2013 of his crimes. He was found guilty on all 27 charges brought against him.

Revue and News 02-26-14