Chelation Clinic Owner Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
March 6, 2009

In 2007, Wilson N. Ellis of Hattiesburg, Mississippi was sentenced to six months in prison and six months of home confinement for submitting false claims for Medicare payments. He was also ordered to pay $29,999 in restitution. The indictment stated that from 1999 through 2002, he (a) hired doctors to administer chelation therapy at clinics that he owned, (b) submitted claims using improper codes to disguise what they did, and (c) used the doctors’ provider numbers to submit claims for treatments performed when the doctors were absent. Medicare does not cover chelation therapy except for certain cases of lead poisoning. The indictment further stated that in some cases, Ellis claimed that the patients were suffering from lead poisoning even though he knew or should have known that they were not. The picture below is an advertisement for a workshop he ran.

During the proceedings, Ellis indicated that Carlos M. Garcia, M.D., a Florida physician who did chelation therapy, had promised to testify on his behalf. Not long afterward, Federal agents raided Garcia’s office. Ellis then filed a motion to dismiss his case based on the theory that the raid had interfered with his defense by intimidating his witness. But the court ruled that the criminal investigation of Garcia began before Ellis was indicted and was not prompted by his willingness to help Ellis.

This page was posted on March 6, 2009.