Imprisoned Westlake cardiologist asks judge to overturn 20-year sentence
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Westlake cardiologist serving a two-decade prison sentence for subjecting patients to unnecessary heart tests is asking a judge to overturn his case, claiming his previous attorneys made errors that led to his improper conviction.
Dr. Harold Persaud argues in a motion filed Thursday that lawyers who represented him at trial, did not properly object to testimony from experts federal prosecutors used at trial to prove that Persaud’s actions were criminal when he performed dozens of unnecessary stent insertions, catheterizations and tests to overbill Medicare and other insurers. The testimony should not have been admitted by the judge, according to the motion.
The jury was also unduly swayed by statements that non-expert witnesses made about Persaud’s medical practice methods that should not have been made, according to the motion.
“It is likely the jury would have returned a different verdict had it not been exposed to such overwhelming and complex testimony,” states the motion, which was written by Cleveland attorneys Richard Lillie and Gretchen Holderman.
The motion to vacate comes a year after Persaud, 59, lost an appeal in front of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A jury found Persaud guilty in September 2015 of health-care fraud, money laundering and 13 counts of making false statements relating to health-care matters. Senior U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent handed down the 20-year sentence and also ordered Persaud to pay nearly $5.5 million in restitution and more than $2.4 million for a money judgment and forfeitures.
Among the tests he performed were ones that involved injecting a radioactive isotope into the bloodstream. His scheme was to over-bill Medicare and other insurers for $29 million, and he received about $5.7 million in payouts.
Persaud did this over six years while he had a private medical practice in Westlake with hospital privileges at St. John Medical Center in Westlake, Fairview Hospital in Cleveland and Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights.
The cardiologist claimed he did everything he thought was right to treat his patients. He is serving his sentence at a federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not immediately provide a comment.
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