Home Health Agency Owner Sentenced for Role in $11 Million Detroit Medicare Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Department of Justice January 24, 2014|
A home health agency owner who participated in a Medicare fraud scheme that totaled almost $11 million was sentenced in Detroit today to serve 120 months in prison.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade, Special Agent in Charge Paul Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh, III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.
Chiradeep Gupta, 39, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood in the Eastern District of Michigan. 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.
On October 26, 2012, Gupta, a physical therapist and part-owner of All American, a home health care company located in Oak Park, Michigan, was found guilty at trial of 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 trial, Gupta and his co-conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through All American and Patient Choice, another Oak Park-based home health care company, which purported to provide skilled nursing and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries 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 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 to make it appear as if physical therapy services had actually been rendered, when, in fact, the services had not been rendered.
According to evidence presented at trial, Gupta provided to Patient Choice and All American physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who created fake patient files using blank, pre-signed forms obtained by patient recruiters to make it appear as if the physical therapy services billed to Medicare had actually been provided. 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.
This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, and the Internal Revenue Service and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. This case was prosecuted by Deputy Chief Gejaa Gobena, Assistant Chief Catherine Dick, and Trial Attorney Niall O’Donnell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.