Ozone Park cardiologist to pay the government $2 million for illegal kickback scheme: Feds

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A former Ozone Park cardiologist will pay the federal government and New York state $2 million after he admitted to submitting over $11 million worth of fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims, federal prosecutors announced on Friday.

Ghanshyam Bhambhani has agreed to pay the federal government $1,370,294.50 and the State of New York $629,705.50 to settle the case that found that he, along with several co-conspirators, engaged in an illegal kickback scheme from 2010 until 2017, when Bhambhani was arrested.

Over the course of the seven years, the doctor paid other physicians to refer their patients to him, a violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Seth DuCharme said.

Bhambhani was also found to have falsified records to justify operating cardiac procedures on patients who didn’t need them, according to the feds.

After admitting to the allegations, Bhambhani agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

Bhambhani was one of a handful of doctors and medical professionals involved in health insurance fraud arrested in 2017. Over 400 individuals across the country were arrested that year for perpetrating schemes that resulted in a combined $1.3 billion in fraudulent claims.

In 2018, Bhambhani pleaded guilty to the charges and voluntarily suspended his medical license, according to the U.S. attorney. He was sentenced to 34 months in prison and three years supervised release.

“Paying kickbacks for patient referrals erodes the integrity of our healthcare system and costs taxpayers precious dollars,” DuCharme said. “Doctors must put patients first, not treat them like commodities unscrupulously paid for with government funds.”

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