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Dr. Alan Burstein of Buffalo pled guilty to a felony charge of health care fraud Thursday, after admitting to U.S. District Court Judge John T. Elfvin that he billed insurance companies for physical therapy sessions that were not performed by licensed personnel.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala said Burstein billed no-fault and workers' compensation insurance companies for diathermy, a physical therapy treatment that, by state regulation, must be performed only by licensed practitioners.

In 1997, Ms. Wylegala said, Burstein received $18,000 from those companies for the treatments, which were performed by unlicensed members of Burstein's staff.

At a sentencing hearing scheduled for Dec. 3, Burstein, 55, could receive a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000.

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