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2 sentence in $258 million Medicaid fraud scheme

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says the operator of community health centers in Baton Rouge and a patient recruiter for a community mental health center in Houston have been sentenced in a $258 million Medicare fraud scheme.

The sentences were handed down Friday in federal court in Baton Rouge.

The department said 53-year-old Roslyn F. Dogan, of Baton Rouge was sentenced to 90 months in prison; 48-year-old James R. Hunter of Houston received 60 months.

In May a federal jury found Dogan guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and two counts of health care fraud. The jurors convicted Hunter of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks.

In related news, Former Consol Energy manager charged with stealing $440,000 from company in fraud scheme.

The department said Dogan and Hunter are among 17 people convicted in the case.

“The companies collectively submitted more than $258 million in claims to Medicare for PHP services over a period of seven years,” the department said.

Friday’s sentencing of Dogan and Hunter was the latest development in the case. Dogan was a co-owner of Serenity Center of Baton Rouge and a manager and marketer for both Serenity Center and Shifa Community Mental Health Center of Baton Rouge.

The Justice Department said Dogan recruited Medicare beneficiaries who were living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities to attend partial hospitalization psychiatric service programs at Shifa and Serenity, knowing the individuals did not need the psychotherapy programs. Her scheme also involved falsifying records to show patients were treated when they had not been.

The department said Hunter recruited Medicare beneficiaries to attend the PHP program at Shifa Community Mental Health Center of Texas in Houston in exchange for $1,500 per week in cash. “Hunter recruited Medicare recipients from group homes who were not appropriate for the PHP services, but who agreed to attend the program in exchange for $75 cash per week. ”

A Baton Rouge psychiatrist, Zahid Imran, 56, pleaded guilty in the case earlier this year. He was medical director of Shifa’s Baton Rouge clinic and co-owned and operated Serenity. He also co-owned the Shifa facility in Houston. Imran received a sentence of more than seven years in August.

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