With the Check of a Box

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Corrupt doctor with money in his pocket

Sometimes, the criminal justice system allows individuals or businesses to resolve allegations to avoid incrimination or incarceration. A 49-year-old physician from The Woodlands, Tex., was fortunate to settle allegations he submitted false claims for the placement of electro-acupuncture devices on his patients. (Oh, and there’s more.) He also settled allegations that he made false statements when applying for a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The grand total he had to pay to settle those allegations was $523,331.

Dr. Emad Bishai, an anesthesiologist and pain management physician at Woodland Pain Institute PLLC, incorrectly billed Medicare and TRICARE for the surgical implantation of neurostimulator electrodes over nearly two years. Apparently, the procedure is quite invasive and requires an operating room, for which Medicare pays thousands of dollars. (That would be ok if the procedure was actually performed in an operating room, and by someone qualified to do so.)

It turns out that neither Dr. Bishai, nor his staff performed the surgical procedure. Instead, patients received devices used for electro-accupuncture, but it only involved inserting needles into patient’s ears with the neurostimulator taped behind them with an adhesive. (Not exactly high tech. I’m guessing the procedures were not very successful.)

Dr. Bishai and Woodlands Pain Institute PLLC agreed to the $523,331 financial settlement and also a seven-year-period of exclusion from participating in any federal health care programs. (I think that is a great plan. And a safe one too.)  

There’s more. Dr. Bishai purportedly made false statements when submitting an application to the PPP program on behalf of the Woodlands Pain Institute PLLC. He made an error when he confirmed that he, as the applicant (or any individual owning more than 20% equity) was not subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction.

The truth is that Dr. Bishai is the owner of Woodlands Pain Institute PLLC. (He owned 100% to be exact.) And at that time, he was facing criminal charges for prescribing opioid medication. Because he checked the box and lied, Dr. Bishai illegally got the PPP loan. (All it took was a simple check of a box and he became extremely rich at the expense of others.)

He’s fortunate to have walked away from this situation with barely a blemish on his record, although there is a rather large sum of money now missing from his bank account. (Let’s hope the financial settlement serves as a reminder for the lucky doctor to abide by the law.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Woodlands pain doctor pays half million dollars for fraudulent PPP and billing allegations,” dated November 15, 2021.

HOUSTON – A 49-year-old local physician has agreed to pay $523,331 to settle allegations he submitted false claims for the placement of electro-acupuncture devices and for making false statements when applying for a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Dr. Emad Bishai is an anesthesiologist and pain management physician who practices in The Woodlands. Woodlands Pain Institute PLLC is his primary practice entity.

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.