Two New Jersey residents were sentenced on Aug. 16 to more than six years in prison apiece for forging physician signatures and writing and interpreting fraudulent reports for diagnostic testing that were never interpreted by a licensed physician.
Kirtish N. Patel, 54 and his wife, Nita K. Patel, 53, owned and operated Biosound Medical Services and Heart Solutions in Parsippany, New Jersey, from 2006 to June 2014. The companies provided mobile diagnostic testing, including ultrasounds, echocardiograms and nerve conduction studies to diagnose heart defects, blood clots, abdominal aortic aneurysms and other serious medical conditions, according to authorities.
Kirtish Patel received a 100-month prison sentence, while Nita Patel was sentenced to 78 months. Medicare and private insurance companies paid the couple more than $4.8 million for more than 10,000 fraudulent diagnostic reports generated between October 2008 and June 2014.
Authorities allege the Patels used the money to purchase multiple homes and luxury vehicles.
In November 2015, the Patels pleaded guilty to one count apiece of healthcare fraud and admitted to receiving more than $4.3 million from Medicare and private insurance for fraudulent diagnostic testing.
Technicians employed by Biosound conducted diagnostic testing in primary care physicians’ offices in New York and New Jersey. The company then sent tests to a reading physician, who would interpret the results. After the reading physician prepared the report, Biosound provided it to the referring physician.
Kirtish Patel admitted that he interpreted and wrote diagnostic reports even though he had no medical license. He also said he knew referring physicians would use the reports to make treatment decisions.
Nita Patel admitted she assisted her husband in forging signatures on the reports. The couple also admitted they falsely told Medicare that a licensed neurologist supervised neurological testing that Biosound performed.
The Patels were ordered to serve three years of supervised release, forfeit $4.8 million and pay restitution of $4.8 million. According to a civil judgment in July, the Patels and their companies are required to pay $5 million in damages to the U.S. government and $2.75 million in civil monetary penalties.