This Article is From May 15, 2013

Four Indian Americans charged with multi-million dollar healthcare fraud in US

Washington: Four Indian Americans, including a physician and three co-owners of a health clinic from Chicago area, have been charged with healthcare fraud estimated to be running into millions of dollars.

Federal law enforcement officials said three Indian Americans Ankur Roy, Akash Patel and Dipen Desai owned and operated Selectcare Health Inc, that provided outpatient physical and respiratory therapy in Park Ridge and Skokie.

They have been charged with submitting more than 4 million dollars in false billings to Medicare between March and July 2011.

Each of them have been charged with six counts of healthcare fraud in an indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury last Wednesday and unsealed on Tuesday.

Another Indian-American, Doctor Nalini Ahluwalia, has been charged with one count of violating the anti-kickback law for allegedly receiving 1,000 dollars in exchange for referring two patients to a home healthcare agency in August 2012.

Charged in a complaint filed in US District Court, she will be ordered to appear on a date to be determined, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

36-year-old Roy from Miami was arrested on Tuesday in South Florida, while 33-year-old Patel from Morton Grove and Desai from Chicago will be ordered to appear for arraignment on a later date in US District Court in Chicago.

According to the indictment, Roy, Patel and Desai submitted false claims to Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield on behalf of Selectcare patients for respiratory therapy services that were never provided.

The alleged false billings sought reimbursement for services purportedly provided on days that Selectcare's sole respiratory therapist was not working.

The billings also allegedly sought reimbursement for services provided for time periods in which the patients were not receiving care from Selectcare, and for treatment seven days a week for three hours per day, a schedule well in excess of the same prescribed for patients at Selectcare.

Roy, Patel and Desai used a third-party billing service to forward the alleged false claims to Medicare, as well as to private insurers like Blue Cross if the patient had supplemental private insurance, including insurance funded by labour union health and welfare plans.

Between March and July 2011, they allegedly submitted 4,009,094 dollars in false billings for services that were purportedly provided between April 2010 and April 2011, resulting in payments totaling approximately 2,214,424 dollars from Medicare and 320,881 dollars from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of 2,535,305 dollars in alleged fraud proceeds, including 446,974 dollars in funds withdrawn by cashiers' checks that were seized by the FBI in July 2012.