Chiropractor charged with billing fraud

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office stepped in to help the Minnesota Department of Commerce file insurance fraud charges Tuesday against a chiropractor and former Cambridge City Council member.

David James Schornstein, 42, was charged with three counts of insurance fraud in Isanti County District Court for fraudulent billing practices involving his chiropractic clinic. The criminal complaint (PDF) alleges that from January 2011 through December 2011, Schornstein fraudulently billed an insurance company for chiropractic and massage-therapy services.

Because Schornstein was a city council member during the time of the crimes he is charged with, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office was asked by the Isanti County Attorney to handle the case to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

In August 2011, the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners suspended Schornstein’s license to practice chiropractic medicine; however, the suspension was stayed as long as Schornstein complied with certain requirements. The Chiropractic Board allowed Schornstein to be involved in the business operations of his Cambridge clinic, but he was not allowed to practice chiropractic medicine. As a result, Schornstein employed a licensed chiropractor at his clinic.

An investigation conducted by agents from the Commerce Fraud Bureau uncovered evidence that he was violating those restrictions and continuing to treat patients. In fact, from September 2011 through November 2011, he billed an insurance carrier under the Personal Injury Protection coverage for services which were not provided or contained material misrepresentations in the claims.

“We entrust medical professionals with great responsibility to not only care for us in our time of need, but also be honest in billing for treatment,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Whether large or small matters, the Commerce Department Fraud Bureau will take action to investigate and stop criminal fraud.”

The criminal complaint states that in 2011, Schornstein billed a total of $8,385.00 worth of services, which the commerce department investigation identified as fraudulent. According to the complaint, in an interview with an agent from the fraud bureau, Schornstein admitted he submitted fraudulent billings.

“Medical professionals, lawyers, judges and elected officials have special responsibilities to society,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. “Mr. Schornstein betrayed this trust when he committed insurance fraud. This office will deal firmly and quickly with this criminal action and breach of trust.”

If convicted, Schornstein faces a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison or $10,000 for each of the three counts of insurance fraud. Any sentence would be determined by a state district court judge.

Insurance fraud is a crime with serious criminal consequences. Insurance fraud trails only tax evasion as the most costly white collar crime in the U.S., according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Minnesotans can report fraud anonymously by calling the Commerce Fraud Bureau at 1-888-FRAUDMN (1-888-372-8366).