A US court has sentenced an Indian man to nine years in jail for his role in a massive healthcare scam that defrauded Medicare of nearly $2.8 million.
The man, Yogesh K Pancholi, 43, from Northville, Michigan, was also convicted of several other charges, including wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, identity theft, and witness tampering.
The court heard that Pancholi was the owner and operator of Shring Home Care Inc, a home health company in Livonia, Michigan, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Pancholi’s plundering plot
However, Pancholi was banned from billing Medicare, so he used the personal information of other people to hide his ownership of the company.
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He and his accomplices then submitted false claims to Medicare for home health services that were never rendered, and received almost $2.8 million in payments within two months.
Pancholi then laundered the money through various shell companies and transferred it to his bank accounts in India.
He also tried to interfere with the investigation by sending anonymous emails to federal agencies, accusing a government witness of committing crimes and demanding that the witness be deported.
In those emails, he alleged a government witness had committed various crimes and should not be allowed to remain in the US in an attempt to keep the witness from testifying.
The jury found him guilty of all the charges in September 2023, after a trial in the Eastern District of Michigan.
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The FBI Detroit Field Office and the HHS-OIG conducted the investigation into Pancholi’s case.
The case was part of the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program, a joint initiative by the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and various federal agencies to crack down on healthcare fraud.
The program, which started in March 2007, has nine strike forces in 27 federal districts, and has charged over 5,400 defendants who have collectively billed more than $27 billion to federal healthcare programs and private insurers.