Webster City doctor given two months jail time in Medicare fraud case

WEBSTER CITY — A Webster City physician was sentenced to two months in prison for making false statements on Medicare claims.

Federal prosecutors say 76-year-old Joseph Latella also agreed Thursday to pay more than $316,000 in restitution. Latella pleaded guilty last July to one count of making false statements related to health care matters. Prosecutors say Latella operated a private practice for many years in Webster City and served as the medical director tor several nursing homes at the time of the offense.

Prosecutors say Latella falsely declared he had spent more time with patients than he actually had at two nursing homes to qualify for more expensive billing in Medicare and Medicaid. The decision was made in the U.S. District Court for the Northern district of Iowa in Cedar Rapids.