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Chiropractor charged with impersonating a physician

Robert Masteller also is accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid

By Christine Reid, Camera Staff Writer
April 10, 2004

A Longmont chiropractor is accused of assuming the identity of an ill doctor and treating his patients.

A state grand jury indicted Robert M. Masteller last week on 30 criminal counts, including criminal impersonation and distributing controlled substances.

The grand jury also charged Masteller with felony theft for billing the state Medicaid program and the federal Medicare program under the doctor's name because they don't cover chiropractic services.

Masteller, 53, of Lyons, turned himself in at the Boulder County Jail on Thursday morning, and by afternoon he had bonded out.

Masteller owns and operates the Mountain Vista Chiropractic & Medical Center at 1750 Mountain View Ave. In 1992, according to the indictment, he hired Dr. Paul Neal — a doctor in osteopathic medicine — to join his practice.

Masteller used Neal's Medicaid and Medicare accounts to bill the federal agencies fraudulently hundreds of times, according to prosecutors. During the time referred to by the indictment — August 2002 through January 2003 — Masteller is charged with stealing about $17,000 from the government entities.

Neal became ill and was hospitalized during that same time, the indictment said, and Masteller is accused of taking over his caseload and ordering prescriptions such as antibiotics and pain killers under Neal's name.

Masteller was treating an assortment of ailments that a general physician would tend to, said Mark Zammuto, first assistant state attorney general.

"He's not a medical doctor, he's a chiropractor," Zammuto said.

Masteller has been a registered chiropractor in Colorado since 1978, according to state records. In addition to chiropractic services, he is licensed to practice acupuncture and electrotherapy.

Masteller declined to comment, but his attorney, Pat Ridley, issued the following statement: "Dr. Masteller has always taken care to place the interests of his patients first. He is not being accused of inadequate or harmful treatment.

"He denies the allegations in the indictment. We look forward to setting the record straight and clearing Dr. Masteller of these charges."

Ridley would not say whether Masteller would continue to see patients.

Masteller's first court appearance is scheduled for April 22.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Christine Reid at (303) 473-1355 or

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