Indian-origin physician pleads guilty in bribery case in US

New York: A 36-year-old Indian-origin physician in the US has pleaded guilty to charges of receiving a total of USD 10,000 in bribes from a person in exchange of sending his patients to the individual’s healthcare company.

Neil Sharma, from Chicago, pleaded guilty before US District Judge Frederick Kapala. He has been a licensed Illinois physician since March 2011.

Between September 2013 and March 2015, he was the Medical Director of as managed care services company that contracted with both Medicare and Medicaid to provide health care benefits.

As stated in a plea agreement, the State of Illinois contracted with the company to provide skilled nursing services to patients who were covered by federal insurance programmes Medicare, Medicaid, or both.

In early 2015, the company contracted with three other firms to provide skilled nursing services.

Sharma admitted that from February to March 2015, as Medical Director and an agent of the company, he corruptly solicited and accepted cash payments of USD 2,500 and USD 7,500 from an individual in exchange for Sharma sending more patients to the individual’s company, and for providing that company with additional Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries through Sharma’s company’s anti-depressant monitoring programme and hospital re-admission programme.

The additional business Sharma promised in exchange for the bribe would bring in millions of dollars.

Sharma faces a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release of up to three years following imprisonment, and a fine of up to USD 250,000 when sentenced in May.