California Doctor Convicted of Medicare Kickback Conspiracy

A federal jury in Los Angeles, California found a Lancaster, California doctor guilty today of conspiracy for his role in a Medicare kickback conspiracy involving a Los Angeles-area home health agency. 

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Regional Office and Assistant Director in Charge Paul D. Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division made the announcement.

Kanagasabai Kanakeswaran, M.D., 65, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to pay and/or receive kickbacks for Medicare referrals and four counts of receiving kickbacks for Medicare referrals after a six-day trial.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 7, 2019 before U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial. 

According to evidence presented at trial, from 2008 to 2016, Kanakeswaran and others engaged in a conspiracy to refer Medicare patients to Star Home Health Resources (Star), a home health agency located in La Verne, California in exchange for illegal kickback payments.  Kanakeswaran received cash kickback payments, as well as kickback payments by check through a company Kanakeswaran owned called Digital Perfection Corporation, the evidence showed. 

As a result of the conspiracy, the owners and operators of Star submitted claims to Medicare based on the Medicare beneficiaries that Kanakeswaran referred to Star, and Medicare paid approximately $4.1 million based on those claims, the evidence showed.

This case was investigated by HHS-OIG and the FBI.  Trial Attorney Claire Yan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander F. Porter of the Major Frauds Section of the Central District of California are prosecuting the case. 

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.  The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operates in 10 locations nationwide.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged over 3,700 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program over $14 billion.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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Author: August 23, 2018