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Michigan pharmacies owner, doctors and 19 others indicted for $60 mn medical fraud


  • Twenty-six people were charged today in a 34-count indictment at U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleging a fraudulent billing ring led by Babubhai "Bob" Patel, 49, owner and controller of 26 pharmacies statewide.

    Federal prosecutors allege that Patel provided kickbacks, bribes and "other inducements" for physicians to write prescriptions for patients with Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance coverage to be presented at a Patel pharmacy for billing.

    • Also named in the indictment today are physicians Paul Petre, 43, of Rochester Hills; Mark Greenbain, 69, of Farmington Hills; and Mustak Vaid, 38, of Brownstown Township; podiatrist Anmy Tran, 40, of Macomb Township; pharmacists Dineshkmar Patel, 33, of Canton; Anish Bhavsar, 35, of Canton; Ashwini Sharma, 33, of Novi; Pinakeen Patel, 32, of Sterling Heights; Kartik Shah, 34, of Canton; Viral Thaker, 30, of Findlay, Ohio; Hiren Patel, 31, of Novi; Miteshkumar Patel, 37, of Troy; Lokeh Tayal, 35, of Canton; Narendera Cheraku, 33, of Farmington Hills; and Brijesh Rawal, 35, of Canton; accountant Chetan Gujarathi, 38, of Canton; business associates Arpitkumar Patel, 26, of Romulus; Sumanray Raval, 54, of Farmington Hills; Harpreet Sachdeva, 38, of Canton; Ramesh Patel, 50, of Canton; Rana Naeem, 60, of Rochester Hills; and Komal Acharya, 27, of Farmington Hills; psychologist and patient recruiter Sanyani Edwards, 32, of Ferndale; and patient recruiters Leodis Elliott, 41, of West Bloomfield; and LaVar Carter, 34, of Macomb Township.

19 Indians indicted for $60 mn medical fraud in US

By Arun Kumar (17:17)

Washington, Aug 3 (IANS) US Federal prosecutors have charged 26 people, including 19 Indians, with participating in a scheme to defraud government Medicare and Medicaid services for the elderly of nearly $60 million in unwarranted prescriptions.

An indictment unsealed in Detroit accuses Babubhai "Bob" Patel, 49, a Canton Township pharmacist, of using his ownership in more than 20 Michigan pharmacies to facilitate the fraud, according to Detroit News.

Prosecutors allege that Patel used kickbacks and other inducements to convince physicians to write prescriptions that were filled at his pharmacies "without regard to the medical necessity of those prescriptions and services".

Since 2006, prosecutors allege that Patel Pharmacies wrongly billed Medicare for more than $37.7 million in prescriptions and Medicaid another $20.8 million.

"Health care fraud steals funds from programmes designed to benefit patients, and we all pay for it," US Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement.

In addition to the pharmacists and doctors, those charged include a psychologist, an accountant and several business associates from the area.

According to prosecutors, Patel allegedly also used recruiters to find patients who, in exchange for kickbacks, would allow the pharmacies to bill their insurance for drugs and other services.

The pharmacies were in Detroit, Dearborn, Southfield, Warren, Taylor, Berkley, Pontiac, Troy, Hazel Park, Oak Park, Waterford, Livonia, Commerce Township, Roseville, Bay City, Saginaw and Kalamazoo.

All of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 23 of the 26 were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

In addition to Patel, those named in the 34-count indictment are physician Paul Petre, pharmacists Dineshkmar Patel, Anish Bhavsar, Ashwini Sharma, Pinakeen Patel, Kartik Shah, Viral Thaker, Hiren Patel, Miteshkumar Patel, Lokeh Tayal, Narendera Cheraku and Chetan Gujarathi.

Arpitkumar Patel, Sumanray Raval, Harpreet Sachdeva, Ramesh Patel, Rana Naeem, physician Mustak Vaid, psychologist and patient recruiter Sanyani Edwards and business associate Komal Acharya have also been named in the indictment.