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Dead ‘patients’ got psychotherapy in $500,000 Medicare scam, feds say

In the murky annals of Chicago’s political history, it wasn’t unusual for the dead to vote — sometimes more than once.

Now the city’s deceased have pulled off another neat trick, the feds say.

They’ve received psychotherapy at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.

According to a federal indictment filed late Thursday, Evanston psychotherapist Jonathan A. Levy, 44, and his employee, Janice Nakao, 59, bilked taxpayers out of $500,000 by filing false Medicare claims, including billing for the treatment of long-dead patients.

But Levy’s business pulled other scams, too, the feds say.

It billed for treatments it failed to provide to elderly patients who were still alive, it’s alleged.

It also allegedly sent an unqualified worker to nursing homes, then charged Medicare as though Levy, a licensed clinical social worker, had provided the service.

And Levy treated nursing home patients in large “group therapy” sessions, then billed Medicare as if he’d seen each patient individually, the indictment alleges.

Neither Levy nor Nakao, who are both free on bail, returned calls seeking comment Friday. Both are due to appear in court Wednesday.

Medicare and Medicaid fraud have come under increased scrutiny from the U.S. attorney’s office in recent years, leading to a series of high-profile prosecutions.

Perhaps the biggest — involving allegations of unnecessary surgeries performed to cash in at the taxpayer’s expense at the former Sacred Heart Hospital on the West Side — is due to go to trial next week.