Indian-origin doc on FBI`s most-wanted list

FBI has launched a nationwide manhunt and alerted Interpol to locate one of its most-wanted fugitives, Indian-origin doctor Gautam Gupta.

Last Updated: Jun 19, 2011, 14:42 PM IST

Chicago: FBI has launched a nationwide
manhunt and alerted Interpol to locate one of its most-wanted
fugitives, Indian-origin doctor Gautam Gupta whose ads
promising weight loss are well-known, for allegedly defrauding
US insurance companies of USD 25 million over the last decade.

An FBI complaint alleges that Gupta received almost
USD 25 million over the last decade when he submitted claims
to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois and Illinois Medicaid
for services that were not medically necessary or, in some
cases, were never performed, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Medicaid is a US health programme for citizens from
low family incomes and resources, funded by the federal and
state governments and is managed by the state.

According to the complaint, FBI agents and Illinois
State Police used interviews with current and former employees
and patients of 57-year-old Gupta to build the case against
him. The agencies also had undercover agents pose as patients.
"We don`t know where he is," Ross Rice, an FBI
spokesman here, was quoted as saying by the paper. "All we
know for sure is that he is not at his residence or any of his
clinics."

Gupta, who is now on the FBI`s list of most-wanted
fugitives, has been charged with one count each of mail
fraud, health care fraud and conspiracy by the FBI. If
convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison.

The paper said that Federal authorities believe Gupta
has fled the country and may be in India, according to a
filing in federal court in Springfield.

Interpol has been alerted. Gupta has been entered by
the FBI as a wanted fugitive in a computer database accessible
to law enforcement officers across the country.

The last known address for Gupta was in the 1600 block
of North Mulford Road in Rockford.

According to the complaint, patients were given
ultrasound exams of their thyroid glands and electro-
cardiograms even before they saw Gupta or other doctors at the
clinics. Also women dressed in scrubs appeared to be nurses
although there were no real nurses working at his clinics.
This is not the first time Gupta has been in trouble.

In 1999, Illinois Department of Financial and
Professional Regulation suspended his controlled substances
licenses for a year because Gupta failed "to properly apprise
female patients of the procedures required in heart and lung
examinations" and was unaware "of inventory and record-keeping
requirements regarding dispensing of controlled substances."

In 2008, Gupta was accused of insider trading by the
US Securities and Exchange Commission.

In the allegation, a brother of a Georgia-Pacific
board member illegally shared information on a deal with
Gupta, who then bought more than USD 1 million of
Georgia-Pacific securities and gained USD 689,401 in profits.

Gupta was ordered to pay back profits with interest
and to pay an equal amount in penalties in the insider trading
case.

PTI