Fraud, criminal charges brought against doctors, practice manager and hospital employees

justice scales and gavel
Two doctors, husband and wife, were indicted yesterday on fraud and drug charges. (Getty/BrianAJackson)

Husband and wife doctors were indicted Wednesday on charges of performing unnecessary medical tests and procedures, overbilling insurance providers and illegally distributing opioids and other drugs.

The couple, Ashis K. Rakhit, M.D., 65, and Jayati Gupta Rakhit, 56, from Moreland Hills, Ohio, were charged in a 24-count indictment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the northern district of Ohio. They were indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, 11 counts of healthcare fraud and six counts of false statements relating to healthcare matters. They are both charged with three counts each of distribution of controlled substances.

RELATED: Doctors' bad behavior in 2017 included fraud, patient abuse and pill mill operations

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Both doctors specialized in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine and operated Ohio Cardiology Associates, which had offices in Cleveland, Strongsville and Parma.

“This couple violated the trust of their patients, the taxpayers and the community. They performed unnecessary medical tests and billed for services they didn’t actually provide in exchange for prescription medications—all of this at a time when our region is inundated in opioid deaths and addiction,” said U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman.

California urologists pay $1M to settle claims

Meanwhile, two urologists based in northern California agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle False Claims Act allegations that they submitted or caused the submission of false claims to Medicare for image-guided radiation therapy, used to treat cancer patients including those with prostate cancer.

Aytac Apaydin, M.D., and Stephen Worsham, M.D., violated the physician self-referral law, commonly known as the Stark Law, and the Anti-Kickback Statute, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Both doctors own and operate Salinas Valley Urology Associates in Salinas and also owned the now-defunct Advance Radiation Oncology Center.

Prosecutors alleged the two doctors solicited eight urologists in Monterey and Salinas to enter into lease agreements with the oncology center under which they could bill for, and profit from, referrals of radiation therapy performed at the center. Those eight urologists previously entered into settlement agreements under which they collectively agreed to pay $900,000, according to the Justice Department. The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability, the DOJ noted.

Former medical center manager goes to prison for embezzlement

In a case of criminal wrongdoing, the former manager of a medical center in Pittsburgh was sentenced Monday for embezzling more than $800,000 over a six-year period.

Telling her the "bill for your criminal conduct has come due," a federal judge sentenced Regina Lewis, 47, to 30 months in prison, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Lewis was the office manager at Pittsburgh Ear Nose and Throat Associates. She managed the practice’s six locations and was responsible for paying bills, depositing checks and overseeing finances.

Lewis pleaded guilty last May to embezzlement. Prosecutors said she deposited medical center checks into her own bank account, made purchases using the business’ credit card and wrote checks to herself from the company’s pension fund.

Mother and daughter arrested on theft charges

And in Aberdeen, Washington, a mother and daughter were arrested by police Friday and charged with multiple counts of first-degree theft for allegedly stealing $390,000 from a hospital and physicians group, according to The Olympian.

The pair were arrested Friday in Aberdeen on suspicion of multiple counts of first-degree theft after allegedly stealing $390,000 from Grays Harbor Community Hospital and a physicians group, according to Aberdeen police.

The women, whose names were not revealed, stole the money from the hospital and the Grays Harbor Physicians Services, according to police. Both are former employees of the hospital, where the daughter worked as payroll controller. The thefts took place from September 2015 to April 2017, when hospital staff confronted the daughter about not paying the hospital’s taxes, the report said.

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