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Indian-origin doctor on FBIs list of most-wanted

Chicago: FBI has launched a nationwide manhunt and alerted Interpol to locate one of its most-wanted fugitives, Indian-origin doctor Gautam Gupta whose ads promising weight loss are well-known, for allegedly defrauding US insurance companies of USD 25 million over the last decade.

An FBI complaint alleges that Gupta received almost USD 25 million over the last decade when he submitted claims to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois and Illinois Medicaid for services that were not medically necessary or, in some cases, were never performed, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Medicaid is a US health programme for citizens from low family incomes and resources, funded by the federal and state governments and is managed by the state.

According to the complaint, FBI agents and Illinois State Police used interviews with current and former employees and patients of 57-year-old Gupta to build the case against him. The agencies also had undercover agents pose as patients.

"We don`t know where he is," Ross Rice, an FBI spokesman here, was quoted as saying by the paper. "All we know for sure is that he is not at his residence or any of his clinics."

Gupta, who is now on the FBI`s list of most-wanted fugitives, has been charged with one count each of mail fraud, health care fraud and conspiracy by the FBI. If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison.

The paper said that Federal authorities believe Gupta has fled the country and may be in India, according to a filing in federal court in Springfield.

Interpol has been alerted. Gupta has been entered by the FBI as a wanted fugitive in a computer database accessible to law enforcement officers across the country.

The last known address for Gupta was in the 1600 block of North Mulford Road in Rockford.

According to the complaint, patients were given ultrasound exams of their thyroid glands and electro- cardiograms even before they saw Gupta or other doctors at the clinics. Also women dressed in scrubs appeared to be nurses although there were no real nurses working at his clinics.

This is not the first time Gupta has been in trouble.

In 1999, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation suspended his controlled substances licenses for a year because Gupta failed "to properly apprise female patients of the procedures required in heart and lung examinations" and was unaware "of inventory and record-keeping requirements regarding dispensing of controlled substances."

In 2008, Gupta was accused of insider trading by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

In the allegation, a brother of a Georgia-Pacific board member illegally shared information on a deal with Gupta, who then bought more than USD 1 million of Georgia-Pacific securities and gained USD 689,401 in profits.

Gupta was ordered to pay back profits with interest and to pay an equal amount in penalties in the insider trading case.

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