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Indian-American gets 10 years jail for $11 mn Medicare fraud

Washington, Jan 25 (IANS) An Indian-American physiotherapist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay over $10 million in restitution for allegedly participating in a Medicare fraud scheme that totaled almost $11 million.

Chiradeep Gupta, 39, was sentenced by US District Judge Denise Page Hood in the Eastern District of Michigan Friday, according to the Justice Department.

In addition to his prison term, Gupta was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay more than $10 million in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants.

Gupta, who is also part-owner of All American, a Michigan home health care company, was found guilty Oct 26, 2012 on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and three substantive counts of money laundering.

According to evidence presented at the trial, Gupta and his co-conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, a federal government healthcare scheme, through All American and Patient Choice, another home health care company, in the greater Detroit area.

The evidence showed that Gupta and his co-conspirators used patient recruiters, who paid Medicare beneficiaries to sign blank documents for physical therapy services that were never provided and/or medically unnecessary, the Justice Department said.

The owners of Patient Choice and All American paid physicians to sign referrals and other therapy documents necessary to bill Medicare.

Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants provided through contractors, including two owned by Gupta, would then create fake medical records using the blank, pre-signed forms obtained by the patient recruiters.

Gupta also doctored and directed the doctoring of fake patient files. The evidence at trial showed that Gupta laundered the proceeds of the fraud through multiple shell companies.

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