New York psychiatrist sentenced to prison for health care fraud

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A psychiatrist from Pittsford, N.Y. was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa.

The defendant, Dr. Muhammad Cheema, 47, was also to pay restitution totaling $813,495.48 to the victim health care benefit programs that he defrauded.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced the sentencing Dec. 10, 2020. Dr. Cheema had been convicted earlier of health care fraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, of the Western District of New York, who handled the case, stated that between 2013 and 2017, Dr. Cheema submitted approximately 5,000 false claims for psychotherapy services that he did not render, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said.

Based on these false claims, Dr. Cheema is said to have  got payments totaling approximately $218,368 from health care benefit programs, including those operated by Excellus, MPV and others.

Investigators found that in addition, from time to time, in response to audits and otherwise, Cheema created false medical records in an effort to substantiate his fraudulent billings and conceal his scheme, the press release said.

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