Monthly Archives: April 2014

Convicted perv psychiatrist Aubrey Levin guilty of sex assault loses appeal, must go to prison

CALGARY – The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to overturn a psychiatrist’s three convictions for sexually assaulting his court-appointed patients.

Dr. Aubrey Levin was found guilty by a jury in January 2013 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Levin, 75, had asked the Appeal Court last October to dismiss the convictions and order a new trial. He had remained free on bail while the appeal was being heard.

But the court has ruled that there is no merit in any of the appeal arguments raised by Levin’s lawyer.

“The appeal accordingly is dismissed,” writes the three-member panel in a decision released Wednesday.

“We direct that Levin turn himself into custody within 48 hours after the filing of this judgment, failing which a warrant for his arrest will issue.”

The original allegations against Levin came to light in 2010 after one of his patients came forward with secret videos he had recorded during sessions with the psychiatrist.

The patient was on probation at the time the videos were taken and had been ordered by a court to see Levin twice a month. The man said he had told authorities about previous assaults and no one believed him, so he bought a spy camera and brought it to his appointments.

At the time of Levin’s convictions, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on four other charges.

The Crown retried Levin on two of them and last month a new jury was again unable to reach a consensus.

Levin, who immigrated to Canada from South Africa, was frequently used by the courts to assess people and provide expert opinions at hearings.

He served briefly as director for the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon and was licensed in 1998 to practise psychiatry in Alberta.

Levin is no stranger to controversy over his work. He faced heated accusations about his time as a military psychiatrist during apartheid in South Africa, where he earned his degree in 1963.

In the 1970s, he was a psychiatrist at a military hospital where aversion therapy through electric shocks was allegedly used in an attempt to change the sexuality of gay soldiers. Levin is mentioned in a report that aimed to shed light on abuses of gays and lesbians in the military by health workers.

Source: Bill Graveland, “Calgary psychiatrist guilty of sex assault loses appeal, must turn himself in,” Calgary Herald, April 23, 2014.

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Alaska psychiatrist charged with $300K Medicaid fraud

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage psychiatrist is accused of billing Medicaid more than $300,000 for services authorities said were never provided.

Shubhranjan Ghosh, 39, is charged by the state with medical assistance fraud, scheme to defraud and evidence tampering, the Anchorage Daily News (http://is.gd/57Jszz) reported. Ghosh is the founder and sole practitioner at Ghosh Psychiatric Services.

He was arrested Tuesday. His arrest comes after a string of unrelated charges connected to Medicaid in what the state calls a continuing crackdown on billing fraud.

The Alaska Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has charged 77 people with Medicaid fraud, abuse or neglect since October 2012, compared to about 30 people the decade before, according to assistant attorney general Andrew Peterson.

“It will hopefully serve to save taxpayers a significant number of dollars,” Peterson said.

The Ghosh investigation began in September 2013 when an employee alerted authorities that she had “discovered a large fraudulent Medicaid billing issue,” according to charging documents. The charges say the woman first noticed the fraud in the summer of 2013 when looking at a bill for a patient who was not in the office for the indicated visit.

According to the documents, the worker told the office manager, who said he and Ghosh had been submitting false billings for years to cover time spent doing non-compensated tasks such as phone calls and emails for Medicaid-related cases.

It’s unclear if Ghosh has an attorney. He is being held on $100,000 bail in Anchorage.

Authorities said one of Ghosh’s patients told investigators the psychiatrist asked to create false billings for her children. When the woman said no, Ghosh “responded that she owed it to him for everything he was doing for her,” the charges state.

The charges also say Alaska Medicaid billing records note that Ghosh billed Medicaid for more than 40 visits with the patient’s children.

Ghosh’s office manager has not been charged. Peterson said the investigation is ongoing.

Source: “Anchorage psychiatrist charged with fraud,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 17, 2014.

Psychiatrist Gary Byrd sentenced again for child pornography

A federal judge sentenced a former Opelousas child psychiatrist to 15 years in prison for possessing and receiving child pornography.

United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced this week that Gary Jefferson Byrd, 72, received that sentence from U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote.

He also has been ordered to undergo 10 years of supervised probation after he completes his sentence.

Finley said this week’s sentencing followed a two-day trial in October.

“Witness testimony and documents admitted into evidence established that from February 2008 to April 2011, Byrd ordered 44 compact discs containing videos of child pornography from a Canadian company,” Finley said in a press release.

“United States Postal Inspectors executed a search warrant on Byrd’s home and found stacks of compact discs containing tens of thousands of images of child pornography that Byrd had downloaded from the internet. Byrd had also printed hundreds of images of child pornography that he kept in files in his bedroom,” Finley said.

She said the U.S. Postal Service Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker prosecuted the case.

This is Byrd’s second conviction on similar charges. In 1992, a federal jury convicted Byrd of possessing child pornography. He served 10 years in prison for that conviction.

Before the 1992 conviction, he worked as a child psychiatrist.

“This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice launched nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse,” Finley said.

Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

Source: William Johnson, “Ex-psychiatrist sentenced for child porn,” The Daily World, April 20, 2014.