A Baltimore County jury last night convicted a former obstetrician at Greater Baltimore Medical Center of theft and fraud charges for billing Medicaid for 121 babies he never delivered and tests he never performed.
Carter J. Williams testified Friday that he did write his name on the patients' records, but said he did it to protect the real guilty party: his fiancee, who was weeping and suicidal in the face of a criminal investigation.
Patricia Peterson, 46, the star witness for the prosecution, was the doctor's fiancee from 1982 to 1991, and helped him with his practice. She testified as part of her guilty plea last month to conspiracy to obstruct justice.
She and the doctor are to be sentenced later.
Peterson said she questioned Williams' billing for tests he hadn't done, and he responded, "It's my a-- just fill out the forms."
He told her to bill all pregnant patients for fetal nonstress tests, she said, even those whose fetuses weren't developed enough to show any stress.
When a subpoena from Maryland's Medicaid fraud unit came in March 1991, she said, they started frantically pulling files and altering records.
The doctor argued that Peterson committed the fraud: that she managed all his financial affairs, giving him about $800 a month and leading him to believe they were always "one check away" from poverty.
But she and others testified that the doctor talked of getting rich quickly and leaving medicine.
The jury was selected March 1 and heard four days of testimony before closing arguments yesterday morning. The jury deliberated about five hours.
Williams was convicted of four counts: defrauding Medicaid by billing for the births of 121 babies he never delivered; altering hospital and patients' records to show the deliveries and tests that never were performed; obstructing justice, and theft, said prosecutors Carolyn H. Henneman, deputy chief of the criminal investigations division, and Assistant Attorney General Timothy X. Sokas.
The 43-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist worked at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, with an office in the Physicians' Pavilion there, but defense attorney Edward Smith Jr. said he hasn't practiced since he was charged.
Circuit Judge John Grason Turnbull II sent the doctor to jail yesterday after the jury's verdict and scheduled sentencing March 24.