In keeping with the American medical soap opera entitled, “Another Foreign-born Doctor Commits Another Crime,” Doctor Ashok Kumar Babaria has been sentenced to 4 years in prison for his role in a wide-ranging cash-for-patients health care scam.
Babaria, of Moorestown New Jersey, was the owner and operator of a diagnostic testing center in Orange New Jersey.
Babaria, a radiology specialist, confessed in court in 2012 that he had been paying other physicians illegal cash for patient referrals, which is a violation of the federal healthcare anti-kickback statute. The case uncovered the fact that a gaggle of other emigre physicians were also scooped up in a federal dragnet and charged with numerous medical and financial crimes.
Prosecutors revealed that Babaria was the medical director and owner of Orange Community MRI. The facility performed ultrasound, MRI, CT and heart scans. Within a single 3-year period, Orange Community MRI billed for and received nearly $2,000,000 in illegal revenue from Medicare, as patients were referred by MDs who were paid $75-$100 kickbacks for those referrals.
US District Judge Claire Cecchi also sentenced Babaria to three years of supervised release; ordered him to forfeit the $2,000,000 he stole and fined him an additional $25,000.
Barbaria is hardly alone in his mischief. In fact, he is but one of 17 others found guilty as a result of this investigation alone. Doctor Chikezie Onyenso, age 55 of Randolph, was convicted in October 2013. Doctor Maryam Jafari, age 43 of Hoboken, was found guilty in February 2014 and was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
Former Orange Community MRI executive director Chirag Patel, age 38 of Warren, pleaded guilty of corrupt charges also. He was sentenced to 6 months in jail.
Here’s a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice:
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