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Norcross chiropractor sentenced to 3 years

ATLANTA - A federal judge this week sentenced a Norcross chiropractor to three years in prison for bilking health care companies of nearly $1.3 million.

Stephen Catterton, 39, pleaded guilty last September to charges of health care fraud and possession with intent to distribute testosterone.

In addition to the prison stint, U.S. District Judge Jack Camp ordered Catterton on Wednesday to repay the money to federal and private insurers, serve three years of supervised release and complete 300 hours of community service.

"False claims like these underlie many of our health care fraud cases, and lead to higher health care costs for everyone," said U.S. Attorney David Nahmias.

In 2006, the FBI initiated an investigation into Catterton's two chiropractic clinics in Norcross - Catterton Chiropractic P.C. and Citadel Healthcare Group - which he'd operated since 1998.

Investigators found that between June 2001 and December 2006, Catterton was paid more than $1.2 million from various health care companies for services he never provided. In some instances, Nahmias said, the licensed chiropractor merely gave patients massages, yet he billed their insurers for highly advanced procedures.

The drug charge stems from bottles of injectable testosterone found in Catterton's business when agents raided it in October 2006. Catterton wasn't licensed to distribute the anti-aging and hormone replacement materials, Nahmias said.