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Optometrist pleads guilty to fraud charges

6:10 AM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- U.S. Attorney's officials say an Augusta optometrist has pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare.

First Assistant U.S. District Attorney James Durham says 47-year-old Jeffrey Sponseller fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $800,000 between January 2008 and February 2011. He pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Durham says in one instance, Sponseller visited a nursing home in Americus in 2009 and claimed he was performing the most expensive type of eye examination - which takes 45 minutes to complete. Officials say Durham claimed to have worked with 177 patients in a single day and fraudulently billed Medicare for the examinations.

Durham says Sponseller faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution. A hearing date has not been set.

Associated Press

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