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Indian-origin doctor couple convicted of fraud in US

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Washington: An Indian-origin doctor, who was a supporter of Khalistan movement, has been convicted along with his wife of defrauding the US government to the tune of USD 2.5 million in a healthcare fraud in which they claimed for procedures that were not performed.

A federal jury in Maryland convicted Paramjit Singh Ajrawat,60, and his wife Sukhveen Kaur Ajrawat, 57 on Friday.

Paramjit was convicted of one count of health care fraud, two counts of making a false statement related to a health care programme, one count of obstruction of justice, four counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft, the US Attorney’s Office District of Maryland said in a statement.

Sukhveen was convicted of one count of health care fraud, four counts of making a false statement related to a health care programme, one count of obstruction of justice, four counts of obstructing an audit, four counts of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

The convictions are in connection with the pain clinic they owned and operated.

Paramjit was a licensed physician in Maryland who specialised in interventional pain management. Sukhveen was a licensed psychiatrist.

The Ajrawats owned and operated Washington Pain Management Center (WPMC) located in Greenbelt.

According to evidence presented at the eight day trial, from at least January 2011 through May 2014, the Ajrawats defrauded federal health benefit programmes including: Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and the Office of Workers? Compensation Programs.

The Ajrawats filed claims for procedures that were not performed.

Specifically, the Ajrawats performed less expensive procedures but falsely billed for procedures that provided higher reimbursement amounts.

The Ajrawats also submitted claims indicating that they had met the requirements for reimbursement, when in fact, they had not met those requirements. Finally, the Ajrawats submitted claims for procedures that had not been performed at all.

The government seeks forfeiture of at least USD 2.5 million, the proceeds of the scheme.

They face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each count of health care fraud, five years in prison for each count of making a false statement related to a health care program; and 20 years in prison for each count of obstruction of justice and each count of wire fraud.

Additionally, Sukhveen faces five years in prison for each count of obstructing a federal audit.

US District Judge Deborah K Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for February 1, 2016.

–PTI