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Indian-origin woman doctor jailed for fraud in US

Boston: An Indian-origin doctor has been sentenced to eight years in prison for committing healthcare fraud along with her husband by a US court, which also ordered the couple to forfeit over USD 43 million in cash and property they gained through their 10-year scam.

Kiran Sharma, 56, had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of healthcare fraud last year.

Her husband, Arun Sharma, also a doctor, was sentenced to 15 years in prison earlier this month for fraudulently billing government insurance programme Medicare, Medicaid and various private healthcare providers for medical procedures that were not performed, US Attorney Jose Angel Moreno said in a statement.

The Texas couple have been ordered by US District Judge David Hittner to forfeit more than 43 million dollars, including their 700,000 dollar home in Texas, more than 700,000 dollars in cash found during a search of their home, over 800,000 dollars in cash found in two safe deposit boxes and a number of investment accounts funded with the proceeds of their fraudulent scheme.

Sharma has been remanded into the custody of the US Marshals Service to begin serving her eight-year sentence.

The couple had pleaded guilty in April 2010.

Arun Sharma too is in federal custody following his sentencing pending designation and transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility.

During 1998-2009, the couple owned and operated multiple medical clinics under the name Allergy, Asthma, Arthritis Pain Centre.

Kiran Sharma, who maintained an allergy practice, would sign patient procedure forms and superbills, falsely indicating that she had administered injections to the patients when in reality she did not.

She also hired several foreign medical graduates who helped add fictitious patient examination information to the blank progress/procedure notes.

Her husband also made patients sign blank procedure notes and then billed insurance companies for injection procedures for days when the patient was not in the clinic.

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