Muskegon doctor pleads guilty to health care fraud

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Muskegon doctor pleaded guilty in federal court to billing for patient visits she did not perform.

Dr. Soaries Maxine Peterson, 68, pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud on May 25, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.

Peterson admitted she billed Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield for a patient office visit when she was out of state on vacation or out of the office. The patients, who often got prescriptions for controlled substances, did not meet with a qualified health professional but with unlicensed office staff, according to the release.

The attorney’s office alleges Peterson wrote prescriptions for controlled substances to patients without a legitimate medical purpose.

As part of a settlement, Peterson has agreed to pay the state and federal governments $500,000 and can’t prescribe controlled substances in the future.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 7. Peterson faces up to 10 years in federal prison.