A northwest suburban surgeon was sentenced to 10 months in prison Wednesday for making false statements in post-operation reports dealing with healthcare services and Medicare benefits.
Dr. John Natale was found guilty in May of two counts of making false statements by a jury that acquitted him of two more serious counts of health care fraud and one count of mail fraud for allegedly defrauding Medicare, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ordered the 63-year-old South Barrington resident to begin serving sentence Nov. 1 and also ordered a fine of $40,000 and periods of community
service during one year of supervised release afterthe prison sentence is complete, accordig to a statement from federal prosecutors.
"The goal here was to collect more than he otherwise would have been entitled," Judge Pallmeyer said in determining an intended loss to Medicare of at least $10,000, accordig to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Natale faced up to five years in prison after Pallmeyer ruled he obstructed justice while testifying in his own defense.
Natale is a vascular and thoracic surgeon who specialized in repairing abdominal aortic aneurysms, or weakening of the artery. The charges focused on six surgeries in 2003 and 2004 at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. Natale later operated at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, according to his trial testimony.
The jury found that for at least two patients in 2004, Natale prepared false post-surgery reports about aneurysm repairs that were never done, and detailing surgeries as more complex than they were, according to prosecutors.
In one case, another surgeon testified that if had relied on Natale's falsified records to treat a patient whose condition deteriorated a year after Natale operated, there would have been serious negatvie impacts for the patient, the release said.