Indians charged in healthcare fraud in US

Last Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 10:42

New York: At least 9 Indian medical professionals are among 90 people charged in the US in a massive healthcare care fraud under, which false claims to the tune of USD 295 million were submitted to public insurance provider.

A nationwide takedown by `Medicare Fraud Strike Force` operations in eight cities resulted in charges against 91 defendants for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes, the US Justice Department said, today.

"The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare, jeopardizing the integrity of our healthcare system and our nation`s most critical healthcare programme for personal gain," Attorney General Eric Holder said.

In Chicago, owner of a clinic that provided chiropractic, medical and physical therapy services, Neelesh Patel was charged with 15 counts of healthcare fraud.

In Detroit, among those charged include Rehan Khan, Javed Rehman, Tausif Rahman, Janaki Chettiar, Jigar Patel, Hetal Barot and Srinivas Reddy.

Ram Chand Ramrup, owner of an assisted living facility was charged in Florida.

The 91 defendants charged are accused of various healthcare fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to defraud the Medicare programme and money laundering.

The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services such as home healthcare, physical and occupational therapy, mental health services, psychotherapy and durable medical equipment.

Collectively, the doctors, nurses, medical professionals, healthcare company owners are accused of conspiring to submit a total of approximately USD 295 million in fraudulent billing.

According to court documents, the defendants allegedly participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided.

In several cases, patient recruiters and other co-conspirators were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying information to providers, who then submitted fraudulent billing to Medicare for services that were unnecessary or never provided.

From Brooklyn to Miami to Los Angeles, the defendants allegedly treated the Medicare programme like a "personal piggy bank", Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said.

In Miami, 45 defendants including a doctor and a nurse have been charged for their participation in various fraud schemes involving a total of USD 159 million in false billings for home healthcare, mental health services, occupational and physical therapy.

In Houston, two individuals were charged with fraud schemes involving USD 62 million.

Ten people were charged in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for participating in schemes involving more than USD 24 million related to false claims.

Six defendants, including two doctors, were charged in Los Angeles for their roles in schemes to defraud Medicare of more than USD 10.7 million.

In Brooklyn, three defendants, including two doctors, were charged for their role in the fraud scheme involving more than USD 3.4 million in false claims for medically unnecessary physical therapy.

In Detroit, 18 defendants, including three doctors, were charged for schemes to defraud Medicare of more than USD 28 million, the Justice Department said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 10:42

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