A federal judge sentenced a Houston psychiatrist to over a dozen years in prison last week after being convicted of defrauding Medicare of over $155 million.
According to federal prosecutors, Riyaz Mazcuri submitted a series of false claims via Riverside General Hospital, where he was an attending psychiatrist, for six years beginning in 2006. They say he submitted claims for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services, which is an intensive outpatient treatment reserved for patients with severe mental illness.
Per investigators, Mazcuri also assigned such treatment to patients with mental problems beyond the help of such PHP treatments, often for many years. Mazcuri is also alleged to have falsified records showing that such patients qualified for the treatments, received the treatments, and required the treatments.
Further, Mazcuri allegedly billed Medicare directly for significant amounts of psychiatric care he did not in fact provide. Federal prosecutors say he signed orders for care not provided in the amount of $55 million over the course of the six years in question.
In addition to serving 150 months in federal prison, Mazcuri was also sentenced to pay $20,607,410.22 in restitution to Medicare and $2,250,789.69 in restitution to Medicaid.
Mazcuri is the latest of several individuals who have been convicted on charges stemming from alleged Medicare fraud at Riverside General Hospital. Though not all defendants have yet been sentenced, to date the sentences handed down range from five years to 45 years.
Convictions obtained at Riverside General Hospital are part of a wider operation conducted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is a partnership between the Department of Justice and HHS. To date, the strike force has charged over 3,500 defendants for falsely charging Medicare over $12.5 billion since 2007.