Dr. Harold Persaud, a Westlake, Ohio, cardiologist was sentenced to 20 years in prison for performing unnecessary catheterizations, tests, stent insertions and causing unnecessary coronary artery bypass surgeries as part of a scheme to overbill Medicare and other insurers by $29 million.
Dr. Harold Persaud, 56, was convicted earlier this year of one count of health care fraud, 13 counts of making false statements and one count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from criminal activity.
“This defendant used his medical license as a license to steal,” the Justice Department’s First Assistant U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon is quoted saying in a Dec. 18 press release. She called the sentence “well deserved” in light of the crimes committed.
Other senior law enforcement officials involved in the investigation and prosecution of Persaud, said he had put patients’ lives at risk as he ripped off taxpayers. Persaud had a private medical practice in Westlake and had hospital privileges at Fairview Hospital, St. John’s Medical Center and Southwest General Hospital, according to court documents and trial testimony.
Persaud devised a scheme through which he carried out the fraud from 2006 to 2012, selecting expensive procedures from the billing code, carrying out unnecessary nuclear stress tests and falsified their results to justify cardiac catheterization procedures that were not medically necessary.
He recorded false symptoms, inserted cardiac stents in patients who did not have the needed minimum 70 percent blockage, and even went to the extent of improperly referring patients for coronary artery bypass surgery that would require further expensive tests he could then charge insurance companies and Medicare. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27, to determine how much he would have to pay in restitution apart from his jail term.