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Doctor, Imposter Charged With Fraud

Federal authorities have charged a Gainesville physician with 210 counts of insurance fraud and money-laundering. And in Boca Raton, a man accused in the past of pretending to be a doctor has been hauled back into court.  

Here are details:

Dr. Ona Colassante is charged with 210 counts of healthcare fraud and money-laundering between 1998 and 2013, The Gainesville Sun reports (paywall alert). Colassante, 57, is accused of  charging for services she didn’t provide and for running unnecessary tests. She is also accused of distributing drugs that are not approved for use in the U.S., without informing patients.

Colassante, who says she is not guilty, turned herself in, the Sun reports.

In the other case, the owner of a Boca Raton vitamin store is in hot water with prosecutors, who say he has not followed an agreement to stop calling himself a doctor.

The South Florida Sun Sentinelreports that Barry Nevins, 73-year-old proprietor of Barry’s Vitamins & Herbs, was called to Palm Beach County Circuit Court to face reinstated charges of impersonating a health care professional.  

He was originally arrested in 2011 after undercover officers reported he wore scrubs and a nameplate with his name followed by “M.D.” Prosecutors reached a deal with Nevins to drop charges after 18 months if he stopped impersonating a doctor.  

Nevins’ attorney Jack Goldberger said the reference to “Dr. Barry” online was merely an oversight, but the deal was ruled void. On Wednesday, a judge ordered Nevins to face the  felony charges next month.

Goldberger said he will put the law itself on trial, arguing that dietary supplements fall outside the purview of the state.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.