Connecticut ophthalmologist sentenced to prison for five-year health care fraud scheme


Date: May 10, 2024


BOSTON — A Connecticut doctor was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for receiving kickbacks in exchange for ordering medically unnecessary brain scans.

Dr. Donald Salzberg of Avon, Conn., was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to one year and one day in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. Salzberg was also ordered to pay $1.34 million in restitution to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. In July 2022, Salzberg pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to receive kickbacks.

Salzberg, a licensed medical doctor in the State of Connecticut for nearly 40 years, owned and operated Donald J. Salzberg, M.D., an ophthalmology practice in West Hartford, Conn. From 2014 through 2019, Salzberg conspired with a principal for a medical diagnostics company that performed transcranial doppler (TCD) scans – brain scans that measure blood flow in parts of the brain – to order hundreds of medically unnecessary TCD scans in exchange for kickbacks. Salzberg and his co-conspirator used false patient diagnoses to order the unnecessary brain scans, for which the co-conspirator would submit claims to Medicare and other insurance companies on behalf of the medical diagnostic company for payment. In exchange, Salzberg was paid cash kickbacks of $100 to $125 per test that he ordered, as well as sham administrative services fees. The scheme resulted in fraudulent bills of over $3 million to Medicare and private insurance companies.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Harry Chavis, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI), Boston Field Office; Roberto Coviello, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division; Carol S. Hamilton, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Boston Regional Office; Ketty Larco Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; and Christopher Algieri, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Northeast Field Office made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Locker of the Health Care Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.