US Federal prosecutors have charged 26 people,
including 19 Indians, with participating in a scheme to defraud
government Medicare and Medicaid services for the elderly of
nearly $60 million in unwarranted prescriptions.
An indictment unsealed in Detroit accuses Babubhai "Bob" Patel,
49, a Canton Township pharmacist, of using his ownership in more
than 20 Michigan pharmacies to facilitate the fraud, according to
Prosecutors allege that Patel used kickbacks and other inducements
to convince physicians to write prescriptions that were filled at
his pharmacies "without regard to the medical necessity of those
prescriptions and services".
Since 2006, prosecutors allege that Patel Pharmacies wrongly
billed Medicare for more than $37.7 million in prescriptions and
Medicaid another $20.8 million.
"Health care fraud steals funds from programmes designed to
benefit patients, and we all pay for it," US Attorney Barbara
McQuade said in a statement.
In addition to the pharmacists and doctors, those charged include
a psychologist, an accountant and several business associates from
According to prosecutors, Patel allegedly also used recruiters to
find patients who, in exchange for kickbacks, would allow the
pharmacies to bill their insurance for drugs and other services.
The pharmacies were in Detroit, Dearborn, Southfield, Warren,
Taylor, Berkley, Pontiac, Troy, Hazel Park, Oak Park, Waterford,
Livonia, Commerce Township, Roseville, Bay City, Saginaw and
All of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit
health care fraud and 23 of the 26 were charged with conspiracy to
distribute controlled substances.
In addition to Patel, those named in the 34-count indictment are
physician Paul Petre, pharmacists Dineshkmar Patel, Anish Bhavsar,
Ashwini Sharma, Pinakeen Patel, Kartik Shah, Viral Thaker, Hiren
Patel, Miteshkumar Patel, Lokeh Tayal, Narendera Cheraku and
Arpitkumar Patel, Sumanray Raval, Harpreet Sachdeva, Ramesh Patel,
Rana Naeem, physician Mustak Vaid, psychologist and patient
recruiter Sanyani Edwards and business associate Komal Acharya
have also been named in the indictment.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted