Morris County Couple Charged with Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud
NEWARK, NJ—A Morris County, New Jersey couple who owned a mobile diagnostic testing company were arrested this morning and charged with conspiring to commit health care fraud, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Nita K. Patel, 51, and Kirtish N. Patel, 51, of Rockaway, New Jersey, owners and operators of Biosound Medical Services Inc. and Heart Solutions of Parsippany, New Jersey, were charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. They made their initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark, III in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint and statements made in court:
From June 2012 through June 2014, Nita and Kirtish Patel owned and operated Biosound Medical Services and Heart Solutions (collectively, “Biosound”), which were mobile diagnostic companies and approved Medicare providers. The companies provided mobile diagnostic testing, including ultrasounds, echocardiograms, and nerve conduction studies.
Biosound technicians would travel to the office of a primary care physician in the New York and New Jersey area to conduct diagnostic testing. Biosound was responsible for sending the tests to a “reading physician”—an appropriate specialist who would interpret the results. After the reading physician prepared a report, Biosound was responsible for providing it to the referring physician. Biosound would bill Medicare and other payors for the diagnostic testing, the reading physician’s interpretation of the results, and the report.
According to the complaint, about half of the diagnostic reports generated by Biosound in the past two years had a photocopied signature from a reading physician when no physician had actually seen, reviewed, or interpreted the results. Rather than pay compensation to a reading physician, Kirtish N. Patel allegedly would interpret the diagnostic results himself, and Nita K. Patel would either photocopy or electronically cut and paste a physician’s signature onto a diagnostic report that was drafted by an employee of Biosound and forwarded to the referring physician who ordered the testing.
The charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Nita K. Patel and Kirtish N. Patel were each released on $100,000 unsecured bond, with travel restricted to New Jersey unless given prior approval by pretrial services, and they must surrender their United States and India passports.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tom O’Donnell, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Alfonzo Walsman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit.
U.S. Attorney Fishman reorganized the health care fraud practice at the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office shortly after taking office, including creating a stand-alone Health Care and Government Fraud Unit to handle both criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud offenses. Since 2010, the office has recovered more than $535 million in health care fraud and government fraud settlements, judgments, fines, restitution, and forfeiture under the False Claims Act, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and other statutes.