Dentist admits fraud charges
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 12,2013
A Rutland dentist has admitted to billing the government for fake procedures.
Dr. Peter Gray pleaded guilty Friday in Rutland criminal court to four of the 23 charges against him — two felony fraud charges and two misdemeanor charges of false pretense — in a Medicaid fraud case.
The remaining 19 charges are expected to be dropped at sentencing.
Gray’s plea agreement with the Vermont attorney general’s office calls for a sentence of six months to six years in prison, suspended with probation except for 110 days of home confinement. Sentencing is scheduled for late February.
“The resources being what they are, this provided a certainty of a felony conviction and provides protection for the public,” said Assistant Attorney General Linda Purdy.
While Gray will not go to jail under the deal, Purdy said, home confinement is considered a form of incarceration.
“It’s really not as nice as it sounds,” she said, noting that the conditions of his confinement must be approved by the Vermont Department of Corrections. “Nonviolent crimes, money crimes like this, people do not get incarcerated.”
Purdy also said there were “collateral consequences,” such as a five-year prohibition against working in any practice that receives Medicare, Medicaid or Tri-Care funds, and the likelihood that the Vermont Board of Dental Examiners, which has already seen fit to suspend Gray before, could take action against him.
Gray is also required to pay $50,000 in restitution. Purdy said the state had put a hold on roughly $80,000 in Medicaid claims Gray made and that the restitution will be taken from those funds.
Gray’s attorney, Kerry DeWolfe of Barre, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday afternoon.
The charges were the result of a 2010 investigation in which prosecutors said Gray repeatedly bilked the Medicaid system by billing for phony procedures. Investigators said Gray claimed to be removing cysts from patients when he was unnecessarily removing healthy tissue.
Gray has another case pending in Rutland criminal court — a lewd and lascivious conduct charge stemming from a claim that he took advantage of a female patient who was under anesthesia. Purdy said the fraud case should have no bearing on the lewd and lascivious case.
Gray was reprimanded and had conditions placed on his license in 2005 by the Board of Dental Examiners after he admitted to illicit drug use. The board revoked his license in 2007 for similar reasons, then restored it in 2008 after he underwent drug treatment, with conditions that included drug testing.