A local chiropractor is facing a list of felony charges after he allegedly faked exam reports to help employees at the Central New York Psychiatric Center with their fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claims.
Eric Szatko, 47, of Sauquoit, was arrested Wednesday, according to New York State Workers’ Compensation Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.
Szatko, who formerly had a chiropractic office in Utica, is charged with the felonies of fourth-degree grand larceny, four counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and three counts of the Workers’ Compensation crime of fraudulent practices.
According to Leahy Scott, in early 2016 Szatko submitted fraudulent medical progress reports to the State Insurance Fund that said he examined and treated three employees at the CNY Psychiatric Center on several separate occasions, when those examinations and treatments never occurred.
One of those former psych center employees, Ryan Haley, was convicted last March of faking a deliberate injury to get paid time off, according to Leahy Scott. In 2016, Szatko submitted a medical excuse for Haley to be out of work with pay for two days in February, and between March 21 and April 15, when Szatko never actually performed any examinations. While Haley was alleging that he was too injured to work, he was actually kayaking in Puerto Rico and vacationing with his girlfriend in California, according to Leahy Scott.
For another psych center employee, Szatko is accused of providing a medical excuse for them to be out of work with pay for two weeks in Feb. 2016, when the employee was not injured and had not been examined by Szatko, according to Leahy Scott.
The third employee reportedly received nearly three weeks of paid time off that same month under similar allegations.
Szatko was arraigned in Utica City Court on Wednesday and released on his own recognizance. He’s scheduled to appear again in court on June 14.
Leahy Scott says this arrest is part of her “long-standing and ongoing investigation into Workers’ Compensation fraud in central New York.”
“These charges allege a sham medical mill run by a practitioner whose brazen malpractice on New York’s taxpayers enabled state employees to feign injuries and enjoy paid time off to which they were not entitled,” said Inspector General Leahy Scott. “The integrity of the Worker’s Compensation system is paramount to protect honest, hard-working New Yorkers, and this arrest emphasizes my commitment and that of my law enforcement partners to pursue any and all fraud to the fullest extent of the law.”
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