Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dr. Ramanathan Prakash was Sentenced To Lengthy Prison Sentence In Medicare Fraud Case


SACRAMENTO, Calif.– Dr. Ramanathan Prakash, 65, of Northridge, CA, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. to a statutory maximum 10 year prison sentence. The defendant had been found guilty of Conspiring to Commit healthcare fraud, and three counts of healthcare fraud by a jury on July 8, 2011. Judge England also imposed a $75,000 fine and ordered Prakash to pay $607,456.80 in restitution.

According to testimony presented at trial, from February 2006 through August 2008, Vardges Egiazarian, 63, of Panorama City, owned and controlled three health care clinics in Sacramento, Richmond, and Carmichael. Egiazarian and others recruited doctors to submit applications to Medicare for billing numbers. Prakash participated in the establishment of a clinic in Sacramento, although he lived in the Los Angeles area. He established the Medicare provider number for the clinic, signed the lease and established a bank account for the clinic. He only visited the clinic twice.

According to evidence at trial, Prakash never treated a single patient at the clinic. Clinic patients, almost all of whom were elderly and non-English speaking, were recruited and transported to the clinics by individuals who were paid according to the number of patients they brought to the facilities. Rather than being charged a co-payment, the patients were paid for their time and the use of their Medicare eligibility, generally $100 per visit. False charts were created stating that each patient received comprehensive exams and a broad array of diagnostic tests. Few of these tests were ever performed, none were performed based on any medical need, and clinic employees filled out other portions of the charts using preprinted templates. Some clinic employees admitted to performing various tests on themselves, and placing the results in patient files.

Patient files were then transported to Los Angeles where Prakash signed them indicating he provided or approved the treatments. In all, the three clinics submitted more than $5 million worth of fraudulent claims to Medicare, $1.7 million of which was actually paid. In return for their roles, Prakash and the other physicians received 20 percent of the billings paid under their provider numbers.

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