An Indian-American doctor named Paramajit Singh Ajrawat has been sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $3 million as restitution by a U.S. federal court. The 60-year-old physician based in Greenbelt, Maryland, who is also a supporter of the Khalistan movement, was found involved in a healthcare fraud scheme in the U.S. under which he filed claims for procedures that were never performed, and defrauded the authorities of $3 million in the process, the Press Trust of India reported.
The Ajrawats were convicted of healthcare fraud, making false statements related to healthcare programmes and aggravated identity thefts, according to a statement by the Department of Justice, U.S Attorney Ofiice, District Maryland.
Ajrawat and his wife Sukhveen Kaur Ajrawat owned and operated a clinic called Washington Pain Management Center. He is a licensed physician in Maryland who specialises in interventional pain management, while his wife was a psychiatrist. She died on Feb.1 this year.
The accusations against the couple included false billing for procedures that provided higher reimbursements, or not performing the procedures in a manner that would qualify them for reimbursement.
The couple was first indicted of false claims for reimbursement of procedures in 2014 by the federal court, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statement said. However, charges against Ajrawat's wife were dismissed after her death.
Evidence presented during the court trial last week detailed how the couple defrauded federal health benefit programmes, including Medicare and Medicaid, from January 2011 to May 2014, the Washington Post reported.
The prosecutors said during the trial Ajrawat claimed he had given nerve block injections to a patient using imaging guidance machines. However, he did not own or use any such machine, according to the Washington Post report.
The Indian government had blacklisted Paramjit when the Khalistan movement was at its height. He, along with 138 others, including Gurmit Singh Aulakh, president of the Council of Khalistan, were removed in May 2011 from the blacklist, which prevents their entry into India, according to the PTI.