By Marice Richter
DALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas doctor has been found guilty of bilking $10 million from health insurance companies and the U.S. government through fraud, including being paid for attending surgeries while he was actually on his private jet, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.
Anesthesiologist Richard Toussaint Jr., 58, was convicted by a federal jury in Dallas on seven counts of fraud for submitting false claims for payments in 2009 and 2010 from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and others, they said.
His lawyers were not immediately available for comment.
Toussaint falsely claimed he personally supervised the administration of anesthesia by certified nurse anesthetists on occasions when he was discovered to be out of state, at another hospital, on his private jet, and in one case, when he was undergoing surgery himself, prosecutors said.
Besides creating false records, Toussaint directed others to claim "that he was present for these procedures when he knew he was not," according to court papers from prosecutors.
Toussaint faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the seven counts. He will have to pay restitution and forfeit any property with money traceable to the fraud, including his collection of Bentleys, Rolls Royces and other luxury vehicles, prosecutors said.
A sentencing date has yet to be set.
Toussaint owned an anesthesia practice and worked at several Dallas hospitals, including the luxury physician-owned Forest Park Medical Center hospital chain, which he founded and substantially owned, prosecutors said.
The for-profit hospital chain faces financial problems, and several of its hospitals have filed for bankruptcy.
(Reporting by Marice Richter; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler)