Patients of a local psychiatrist who had pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud cheered on Friday afternoon as she was given probation.
Federal Judge Curtis Collier said he did not feel it was necessary for Dr. Gulshan Sultan to do time in federal prison.
But he ordered her to pay a $5,000 fine.
She has already made $3,775 in restitution.
Dr. Sultan, who has offices in Chattanooga, Cleveland and Athens, had been indicted on 19 counts of fraud. She pleaded guilty to a single count.
She faced up to five years in prison.
Officials said on a number of occasions, Dr. Sultan would enter a bill code for a 20-45 minute visit, when those visits were actually five to 10 minutes in length.
TBI investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit said the overbilling occurred between May and September 2003.
Her attorney said Dr. Sultan has suffered a number of repercussions, including having Medicaid and insurance payments cut off. She has also lost privileges at area medical facilities.
But he said she feels a responsibility to her patients and has continued to treat them.
A number of them were in the courtroom in support of her. They clapped when she walked out after getting probation.
Dr. Sultan, who grew up in Bangladesh, took turns hugging them in a hallway outside.
She will be on probation for two years.