A Toms River 55-year-old who posed as a licensed doctor in a Medicare scam is headed to prison for four years.

Patrick Lynch was sentenced today in a Trenton federal courtroom in exchange for his earlier guilty pleas to health care fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Lynch admitted treating hundreds of patients, prescribed medication and recommended procedures, as well as conducting house calls with innumerable elderly patients and submitting bills to Medicare.

The ruse was accomplished through Visiting Doctors of New Jersey, the Toms River-based firm he founded to tend aged and home-bound people in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

According to prosecutors, Lynch hired licensed physicians and nurse practitioners to conduct visits because he was not licensed to perform any of their functions. After he neglected to pay his staffers, they quit. Lynch then continued writing prescriptions and billing Medicare, using their names and government-issued identifications.

Lynch is also required to serve two years' supervised release, repay $40,000 to Medicare, and undergo psychological rehabilitation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Wolfe conducted the government's case. Lynch was represented by Toms River attorney Stephen Secare.