Southbury dentist charged with Medicaid fraud
A Southbury dentist with an office in Southington is facing up to 20 years in prison after authorities said he defrauded Medicaid by billing the program for more expensive services than he actually did or services that were not performed at all.
Thomas Derienzo, 58, of Bucks Hill Road, was charged Tuesday with one count each of first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community, second-degree vendor fraud and insurance fraud.
Derienzo is accused of submitting claims between 2010 and 2014 for dental procedures he supposedly rendered as owner of Plantsville Family Dental in the Plantsville section of Southington, according to the state Department of Justice.
In 282 instances, the claimed services were either not rendered at all or were “upcoded,” meaning they were assigned an incorrect billing code in order to increase the allowable payment, authorities said in a news release.
In another 67 instances, the claimed procedures were not documented in medical records, and in another 193 instances they appeared to dental experts who reviewed them to be medically unnecessary, according to the release. The total value of those false claims was more than $7,000, police said.
DeRienzo was released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Thursday.
First-degree larceny by defrauding a public community is a class B felony punishable by up to two decades in prison.