Indian-origin doctor conspires to commit health care fraud in California, jailed

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New York, 01 Sep 2018: An Indian-origin woman has been sentenced to over five years in prison for health care fraud and making false statements related to a health care benefits programme.


Vilasini Ganesh was sentenced on August 28 to 63 months in prison, US Attorney Alex Tse said.


Vilasini Ganesh, 47 and her husband Gregory Belcher, 56, both of California were convicted of the charges in December last year after an eight-week trial.


The evidence at trial demonstrated Vilasini Ganesh submitted a series of false medical claims related to the family medical practice she owned in California’s Saratoga town.


She submitted claims for days when a patient had not been seen by the provider and claims for patients who had been seen by a physician provider who no longer was affiliated with her practice. Additionally, she billed insurers with claims that certain patients were seen 12-15 times in a single month.


In July 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Vilasini Ganesh and Gregory Belcher, charging them with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering as well as on multiple other counts of health care fraud.


During Vilasini Ganesh’s sentencing hearing, Judge Lucy Koh said that Vilasini Ganesh obstructed justice by misrepresenting her understanding of the legal system, the amount of money she was paid by insurers, and whether she understood that it was improper to "upcharge" when submitting claims to insurers.


In addition to the prison term, Judge Koh sentenced Vilasini Ganesh to a 3-year term of supervised release and ordered her to pay restitution in the amount of over USD 344,000. Vilasini Ganesh will begin serving the prison sentence on November 1, 2018.


In April this year, Gregory Belcher was sentenced to a year and a day in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.


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