Federal Jury Finds Brookfield Podiatrist Guilty of Medicare Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 14, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Susan J. Waddell, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General for New England; and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal jury in Hartford has found Samir Zaky, 38, of Brookfield, guilty of 14 counts of health care fraud and 14 counts of making false statements relating to health care matters. The trial before Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello began on June 10 and the jury returned its verdict this afternoon.
“Health care fraud is a serious crime that undermines our ability to provide care to those who need it most,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Daly. “Our office is committed to protecting Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers from all unscrupulous health care providers in Connecticut.”
“When health providers put personal greed ahead of the provision of quality patient services, they should expect intense scrutiny by law enforcement officials,” stated HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Waddell. “Dr. Zaky recklessly ignored the consequences, insisting on cheating taxpayers, patients, and the Medicare program. Now, he is paying the price.”
“Medicare is in place for our nation’s elderly to receive important and often vital health care services,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “It is not for unscrupulous doctors and health care professionals to use as a personal slush fund. The FBI is committed to investigating fraud in both government-sponsored and private health insurance programs and urges anyone with information on a health care fraud to report it their local FBI office.”
According to the evidence at trial, Zaky is a podiatrist who operated Affiliated Podiatrists LLC in Brookfield. From August 2010 to July 2011, Zaky submitted numerous claims to the Medicare program stating that he had performed nail avulsions, a surgical procedure that requires use of an injectable anesthetic and removes the entire border of a patient’s toenail. In fact, Zaky had only clipped or trimmed the patient’s toenails.
Judge Covello has scheduled sentencing for September 10, 2013, at which time Zaky faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count of health care fraud and a maximum term of imprisonment of five years of each count of making a false statement.
The government also is seeking to forfeit more than $29,000 in cash found during a search of Zaky’s residence in August 2010.
Zaky has been released on bond since his arrest on November 29, 2012.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David J. Sheldon and Christopher W. Schmeisser and Auditor Kevin Saunders.
Acting U.S. Attorney Daly encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force at 203-777-6311 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.