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Ghanshyam Bhambhani practiced medicine out of this office on Liberty Avenue.
By Forum Staff
Disgraced Ozone Park cardiologist Ghanshyam Bhambhani will pay a total of $2 million to settle civil claims that he paid kickbacks to other physicians for referrals of patients insured by Medicare, Medicaid, and the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Program, prosecutors announced Friday.
Under the terms of the settlement, Bhambhani will pay the U.S. $1,370,294.50. In addition, he will pay New York $629,705.50.
According to the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office, a joint investigation revealed that, from 2010 through 2017, Bhambhani paid other doctors compensation disguised as rent for patient referrals in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act. The investigation also revealed that Bhambhani falsified records to justify cardiac procedures. Bhambhani admitted engaging in this conduct and has agreed to cooperate with the government.
Federal authorities also noted that the agreement resolves a lawsuit originally brought by a whistleblower under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, captioned United States ex rel. FNU LNU LLC v. New York Cardiology P.C., et al., Civil No. 14-4581 (Eastern District of New York). The False Claims Act permits private citizens with knowledge of fraud against the government to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. and to share in the recovery.
In 2018, Bhambhani surrendered his medical license after pleading guilty in Brooklyn federal court to one count of conspiracy to pay healthcare kickbacks. He was sentenced to 34 months in prison, three years’ supervised release and ordered to pay $217,364.83 in criminal restitution and $1,080,000 in criminal forfeiture.
“Paying kickbacks for patient referrals erodes the integrity of our healthcare system and costs taxpayers precious dollars. Doctors must put patients first, not treat them like commodities unscrupulously paid for with government funds,” said Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.