Chicago hospital kickback scheme leads to another conviction

A Chicago podiatrist, Shanin Moshiri, DPM, has been convicted of accepting $2,000 in monthly kickbacks from now-shuttered Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago in exchange for referrals, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

In April 2013, federal authorities arrested the hospital's owner and CEO Edward Novak, its former CFO, Roy Payawal, and four physicians, including Dr. Moshiri, for their alleged participation in the kickback scheme. After the arrests, CMS suspended its reimbursements to Sacred Heart, and the hospital closed in July 2013.

In October 2013, Anthony Puorro, who was Mr. Novak's former second-in-command at the hospital, and Noemi Velgara, the hospital's former vice president of geriatric services, were indicted in the case.However, they both cooperated with the federal investigation, including wearing recorders to tape conversations. In December 2014, Mr. Puorro and Ms. Velgara entered into a plea deal with prosecutors.

One of the conversations captured on Mr. Puorro's recorder is of Dr. Moshiri discussing the number of referrals he sent to Sacred Heart and how Mr. Novak was never satisfied with the number of patients he sent to the hospital.

"He wants the Taj Mahal, all or nothing," Dr. Moshiri told Mr. Purorro, according to the Chicago Tribune. "He should be very happy I bring my patients here… I'm the most active podiatrist at the hospital."

Dr. Moshiri was found guilty of one count of accepting a kickback. Dr. Moshiri is the third conviction involving the Sacred Heart kickback scheme this year. In March, the jury deliberated for three days before convicting Mr. Novak, Mr. Payawal, and the hospital's former COO of conspiring to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to physicians for referrals to the hospital.

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