Prosecutors: psychiatrists, marketer had kickback plot
Feb. 11, 2018
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two New Orleans-area psychiatrists and a health care marketer are accused of participating in a kickback scheme, and the doctors also are accused of health care fraud.
An indictment alleges that the three plotted with the owner of a home health agency owner to refer patients for unnecessary home health services. The agency owner pleaded guilty in 2017.
The doctors are Muhammad Kaleem Arshad of New Orleans and Padmini Nagaraj of Kenner, and the marketer is Joseph Haynes of New Orleans.
They could not be reached for comment. Directory assistance did not have home phone numbers for them and the federal district court's online docket did not list attorneys for any of them.
According to the docket, they are to be arraigned Feb. 21.
The 17-page indictment handed up Thursday alleges that the conspiracy with Progressive Home Health Care Inc. and other home-health agencies ran from September 2010 until April 2015.
The agencies would appoint Arshad and Nagaraj as medical directors and pay them "monthly kickbacks and bribes disguised as 'medical director' fees," according to the indictment.
In reality, it alleged, their main services for the agencies was "fraudulently referring, certifying and recertifying Medicare beneficiaries ... for medically unnecessary home health care services."
Also named in the indictment were Progressive's co-owner, Milton Diaz of Harvey, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to one count of conspiracy, and Kim Ricard, an associate of Haynes.
Ricard was convicted on eight counts in September and sentenced to four years and three months in prison on each count, to be served concurrently. She has appealed the sentence.
Arshad, Nagaraj and Haynes are charged with one count each of conspiracy to receive illegal health care kickbacks and three counts of receiving such kickbacks. Arshad and Nagaraj also face one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five counts of health care fraud.