The Associated Press and several Bay-area broadcast and print news outlets are reporting that Federal prosecutors in San Francisco announced criminal charges against 28 people, including 13 doctors and two home health care companies, in an $8 million kickback scheme.
The accused CEO, Ridhmina "Amanda" Singh, allegedly bribed doctors and others to steer Medicare patients to Amity Home Health Care, the largest home health care provider in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Advent Care Inc., a sister company.
Amity and Advent Care allegedly received $115 in referrals in exchange for $8 million worth of kickbacks, including cash and gifts such as NBA tickets, Las Vegas trips, and Louis Vuitton handbags, the FBI said, based on recordings it obtained of each defendant offering, approving or accepting illegal payments for patient referrals. Authorities also made clear there were no accusations of patients receiving inadequate care.
In a news release, the FBI's deputy special agent in charge for San Francisco, Craig Fair, said, "These doctors and health care professionals sold patients like commodities, placing their own financial gains over the well-being of their patients and betraying the basic principles of their profession."
If convicted of taking part in illegal kickbacks, the defendants could each face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $100,000 fine.
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