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Friday, February 18, 2011

Indians-among-111-charged-in-major-US-healthcare-fraud

BOSTON: At least six Indian-origin persons are among over 100 doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals arrested on charges of alleged involvement in a massive Medicare fraud estimated at $225 million, in one of the biggest crackdowns on healthcare fraud-related crimes in the US.

The 111 people charged across nine cities are accused of crimes, including conspiracy to defraud Medicare, criminal false claims, money laundering and aggravated identify theft.

"With this takedown, we have identified and shut down large-scale fraud schemes operating throughout the country. This is the largest federal healthcare fraud takedown in our nation's history," said Attorney General Eric Holder who announced the charges with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius


Medicare is a government insurance programme that covers Americans who are 65 and older. About 45 million elderly and disabled Americans are enrolled in taxpayer-funded Medicare plans.

Collectively, the doctors, nurses, health care company owners charged in the fraud are accused of falsely billing Medicare of more than USD 225 million.

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

More than 700 agents from the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services arrested the alleged swindlers in Brooklyn, ChicagoDallasDetroit, Houston, Los AngelesLouisianaMiami and Tampa.

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

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

In Chicago, Indian-origin doctor Jaswinder Rai Chhibber, president and owner of a medical clinic, was arrested and presented in court. He is charged with one count of healthcare fraud.

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

He allegedly performed complicated diagnostic tests on patients without a medical need for those tests besides billing insurance providers for tests never actually performed on patients.

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

Nallani was charged with fraud in connection with an approximately USD 8.5 million physicians visiting group operation.

She billed Medicare for home visits which required her to be physically present, when in fact she was abroad.

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