Indians among 111 charged in major US healthcare fraud

Yoshita Singh

Boston, Feb 18 (PTI) At least six Indian-originpersons are among over 100 doctors, nurses and healthcareprofessionals arrested on charges of alleged involvement in amassive Medicare fraud estimated at USD 225 million, in one ofthe biggest crackdowns on healthcare fraud-related crimes inthe US.

The 111 people charged across nine cities are accusedof crimes, including conspiracy to defraud Medicare, criminalfalse claims, money laundering and aggravated identify theft.

"With this takedown, we have identified and shut downlarge-scale fraud schemes operating throughout the country.

This is the largest federal healthcare fraud takedown in ournation''s history," said Attorney General Eric Holder whoannounced the charges with Health and Human Services SecretaryKathleen Sebelius.

Medicare is a government insurance programme thatcovers Americans who are 65 and older. About 45 millionelderly and disabled Americans are enrolled in taxpayer-fundedMedicare plans.

Collectively, the doctors, nurses, health care companyowners charged in the fraud are accused of falsely billingMedicare of more than USD 225 million.

Over 60,000 Indian-origin doctors are estimated to beoperating in the US which has a total of about 954,000doctors.

More than 700 agents from the FBI and the Departmentof Health and Human Services arrested the alleged swindlersin Brooklyn, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles,Louisiana, Miami and Tampa.

The agents also executed 16 search warrants across thecountry in connection with the ongoing investigation.

According to court documents, defendants participatedin schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments thatwere medically unnecessary and often never provided.

In Chicago, Indian-origin doctor Jaswinder RaiChhibber, president and owner of a medical clinic, wasarrested and presented in court. He is charged with one countof healthcare fraud.

According to the charges, Chhibber, 48, submittedreimbursement claims for medical procedures he never rendered.

He allegedly performed complicated diagnostic tests onpatients without a medical need for those tests besidesbilling insurance providers for tests never actually performedon patients.

In Detroit, among those charged were Vishnu PradeepMeda, 30, Ram Naresh Rajulapati, 31 and Surya Nallani, 43.

Nallani was charged with fraud in connection with anapproximately USD 8.5 million physicians visiting groupoperation.

She billed Medicare for home visits which required herto be physically present, when in fact she was abroad. (MORE)PTI YAS WAJ VMN

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