12 physicians sentenced in $250M billing fraud scheme

Twelve physicians in Michigan and Ohio were among 16 defendants sentenced to prison for a healthcare fraud scheme that involved submitting $250 million in false billings to insurers, the Justice Department said March 9. 

Prosecutors said the physicians refused to prescribe opioids to patients with back pain unless they received unnecessary back injections. The injections, known as facet joint injections, were selected because they were highly reimbursed procedures, prosecutors said. 

The physicians were allegedly part of a multistate network of pain clinics frequented by individuals suffering from opioid addiction and drug dealers, according to the Justice Department. 

The physicians also allegedly tried to hide their scheme by only working a few hours a week to "stay under the radar" of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Prosecutors said that the physicians used the proceeds to fuel lavish lifestyles. 

Below is a breakdown of the physicians sentenced and duration of their prison sentences:

  • Spilios Pappas, MD, 63, was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $32.3 million in restitution.
  • Tariq Omar, MD, 63, was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $24.2 million in restitution.
  • Joseph Betro, DO, 60, was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $27.4 million in restitution.
  • Mohammed Zahoor, MD, was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $36.7 million in restitution.
  • Zahid Sheikh, MD, 62, was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $2.1 million in restitution.
  • Abdul Haq, MD, 76, was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay $6.9 million in restitution. 
  • Steven Adamczyk, MD, 47, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution.
  • David Weaver, MD, 67, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $229,500 in restitution.
  • Glenn Saperstein, MD, 58, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $2.7 million in restitution.
  • Manish Bolina, MD, 43, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $310,936 in restitution.
  • Hussein Saad, MD, 42, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay $415,207 in restitution.
  • David Yangouyian, MD, 58, was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay $35,480 in restitution.

The four other defendants, including Mashiyat Rashid, the CEO of a Michigan- and Ohio-based group of pain clinics, received sentences and were ordered to pay restitution. Three other physicians involved in the scheme have yet to be sentenced. 

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