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Indian-American couple charged with health-care fraud

June 26, 2009 18:51 IST

An Indian-American doctor couple in Houston has been charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with conspiracy to commit health care fraud costing the government a whopping US $ 8 million by running their clinics as virtual "pill mills". Dr Arun Sharma and his wife Dr Kiran Sharma, both 54, were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances not for legitimate medical reasons, Houston Chronicle reported quoting officials.

Sharma and his wife, a physician, prescribed more than 600,000 pain pills and billed the government more than US $ 8 million for medical care that was never performed. Investigators said the couple operated their clinics in Webster and Baytown as virtual "pill mills". One patient received more than 8,000 hydrocodone tablets between September 2008 and April including two prescriptions that were issued the same day, the report said. Customers were charged up to US $ 100 for each hydrocodone prescription, officials said.

Investigators found US $ 700,000 during a search of the couple's home along with US $ 816,000 inside a pair of safe deposit boxes, officials said. Kiran Sharma, suspected of handling the couple's financial arrangements, was taken into federal custody on Wednesday and will remain in custody pending her appearance before a US Magistrate Judge. A warrant remains outstanding for Arun Sharma's arrest, according to the officials.

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