Paresh Patel, 55, an internal medicine physician, was sentenced to one year in prison for accepting over $174,000 in bribes in exchange for patient referrals to a mobile diagnostic company. He pleaded guilty before a US district Judge to charges of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute.
The Statute is designed to protect patients and federal healthcare programmes from fraud and abuse by inhibiting the use of money to influence healthcare decisions. Patel had referred his patients to a Mobile Diagnostic testing company operated by Nita Patel and Kirtish Patel who are not relatives.
In addition to the prison term Patel was also ordered to pay $6,000 fine and he has forfeited over $174,000 he had received as part of the bribery scheme.
Nita and Kirtish Patel already pleaded guilty last November to healthcare fraud for forging signatures on diagnostic reports that were actually authorised by Kirtish Patel who did not have a medical licence.