Rochester, N.Y. area psychiatrist pleads guilty to health care fraud

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U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced June 18, 2020, that Dr. Muhammad Cheema, 47, of Pittsford, NY, pleaded guilty to health care fraud before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, a press release from the U.S. Attroney’s Office for the Western District of New York.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, who is handling the case, said that between 2013 and 2017, Dr. Cheema submitted approximately 5,000 false claims for psychotherapy services that he did not render.  Based on these false claims, the defendant obtained payments totaling approximately $218,368 from health care benefit programs, including those operated by Excellus, MPV and others.

Cheema was charged in July 2018, when he operated Upstate Psychiatry at 115 Sully’s Trail, according to a July 31, 2018 news report in the democratandchronicle.com. He earlier worked for Rochester Regional Health from 2004, a position from which he resigned in January 2017, the news report said quoting a spokeswoman for Rochester Regional Health.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 6, 2020, at 9:15 a.m. before Judge Siragusa.

 

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