Cardiologist Will Do 20 Months for Ripping off VA on Medical Procedures

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

A New Jersey heart doctor who billed the Department of Veterans Affairs hundreds of thousands of dollars for procedures he never performed on veterans is finally facing the consequences of his actions.

Apostolos Voudouris, 44, will serve 20 months in prison and pay a total of $722,190 in restitution, a civil settlement and fines after billing the VA for more than 350 procedures he never did over a four-year period, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.

He faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Voudouris pleaded guilty last August to the fraud, which took place between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. attorney said. The cardiologist began working on a contract for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in East Orange, New Jersey, in 2006 and presumably conducted many real procedures during his nine-year tenure.

He still has a profile up at Healthgrades.com, where he enjoys a four-star rating. According to his profile, he has been practicing for 14 years and is a 1998 graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

But the instances in which Voudouris submitted paperwork to the VA but never actually performed a procedure totaled $238,230 in phony bills, the U.S. Attorney announced.

In addition to Voudouris' prison term, he will serve two years of supervised release, U.S. District Judge William Walls decided. The sentence was handed down Tuesday in Newark federal court.

In addition to full restitution to the VA, Voudouris must pay a $7,500 fine and $476,460 in a civil settlement with the government, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Special agents with the VA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the FBI participated in the investigation into Voudouris' wrongdoing, according to releases.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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