An Indian-American doctor practicing in Amherst, N.Y., pleaded guilty to stealing from insurance companies, according to a May 25, announcement by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr.
Dr. Sreekrishna M. Cheruvu, 61, of East Amherst, NY, pleaded guilty, during trial, before Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to theft from a health care benefit program. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. As part of his plea, Cheruvu agreed to pay restitution in the amount of up to $550,000.Dr. Cheruvu was first charged almost exactly 4 years ago on May 30, 2014.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maura K. O’Donnell and Elizabeth R. Moellering, who are handling the case, stated that between January 2011 and May 2014, Cheruvu was a practicing physician in Amherst, NY who submitted claims to Independent Health (IHA), Univera, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York (HealthNow) for medical services he claimed to have rendered.
Cheruvu was also a participating provider with HealthNow. On August 7, 2012, Cheruvu submitted a claim form to HealthNow for reimbursement for services provided to patient “K.S.” On the form, Cheruvu claimed he provided services to “K.S.,” when, in fact, he did not, say investigators. As a result, HealthNow reimbursed Cheruyu $61.23.
Between January 2011 and May 2014, IHA, Univera, and HealthNow, lost approximately $196,615 as a result of Cheruvu’s conduct, the press release says.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 5, before Judge Skretny.