Three Bay Area Indians Ridhima Singh, Bhupinder Bhandari and Vineeta Singh are among the Dozens Charged in Alleged Multi-Million Dollar Medicare Patients-For-Cash Kickback Scheme
September 05, 2019 - Multiple Federal complaints have been filed by U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California today charging three Bay Area Indians and 27 others with multi-million dollar scheme to receive referrals for Medicare patients.
The 30 people charged with Medicare kickback scheme include CEO of Amity Home Health, 13 Doctors, six Nurse/Case Managers, five Marketers, one Marketing Director and one Social Worker.
In addition to charging 30 people, complaints have been filed against Bay Area's largest home health care agency Amity Home Health and a hospice care provider Advent Care Inc.
The three Bay Area Indians charged in the case are:
- Livermore, CA resident and Amity Home Health CEO Ridhima (Amanda) Singh (33 )
- Indian Doctor and Pleasanton, CA resident Bhupinder Bhandari (59 )
- Indian Social Worker and resident of Hayward, CA resident Vineeta Singh (43 )
....all the defendants participated in the scheme whereby Amity, under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Ridhima “Amanda” Singh, paid kickbacks to marketers, doctors, and other medical professionals in exchange for the certification or referral of patients for home health or hospice services. Also charged are 28 people including doctors, nurses, marketers, a social worker, and additional employees of Amity.
...every single defendant charged was recorded by law enforcement officers either offering or accepting, or approving illegal payments for patient referrals.
Title 42, United States Code, Section 1320a-7b, makes it a crime for any person to knowingly solicit, offer, or pay a kickback, bribe, or rebate for furnishing services under a Federal health care program. Because many of the patients were insured by Medicare, a taxpayer-funded insurance plan, the referral of patients through the kickback scheme violated the statute.
...Amity and the other defendants often disguised the kickbacks as payroll, phony medical directorships, and, at other times, as “entertainment,” reimbursements,” “gifts”, or “donations.”
...further, several of the defendants are doctors and other health care professionals who allegedly received bribes in exchange for making referrals to Amity and Advent and other home health agencies so that the companies could provide and bill for services. In the case of Amity, Singh and her employees allegedly compensated these professionals in cash for each patient referral and for making introductions to physicians, case managers, or other health care professionals who could refer patients.
In addition, some of the defendants are described as “marketers.” Marketers received from Amity and others cash and gifts, such as tickets to Warriors games, in exchange for patient referrals. Marketers had clients that consisted of case managers at hospitals, social workers at skilled nursing facilities, doctors, and office staff at doctors’ offices. Singh allegedly instructed marketers to take clients out to elaborate meals, sporting events, and purchase gifts for individuals willing to provide Amity with patients, mainly Medicare patients. When patient referrals were slow, Singh allegedly directed the marketer to incentivize clients with gifts in an effort to induce them to refer more patients to Amity.
ChargesEach of the thirty defendants is charged with illegally influencing patient referrals for federally funded health care through payments, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(2)(A).
In addition to the charge of illegal patient referrals, Ridhima Singh of Amity Home Health was charged with:
- Lying to investigators, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001
- Tampering with witnesses in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3)
Potential PenaltyIf convicted the 30 defendants in Medicare kickback scheme face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum $500,000 fine.
In addition, Ridhima Singh faces a maximum statutory penalty of 5 years and a $250,000 fine for lying to investigators.
And the charge of tampering with witnesses against Ridhima Singh carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.
The two corporations Amity Home Health and Advent Care Inc. are subject to a fine of $1,000,000 for each violation. The Medicare kickback scheme indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and Ridhima Singh, Dr. Bhupinder Bhandari, Vineeta Singh and other defendants must be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.