Three North Texas residents have been indicted for conspiring to pay for patient referrals in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown. The indictment was unsealed today.
The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by federally-funded programs, including Medicare, TRICARE, and Medicaid. The Anti-Kickback Statute is intended to ensure that medical providers’ judgments are not compromised by improper financial incentives and are instead based on the best interests of their patients.
Sultan Satar Sattar, 64, and his wife Bibi Zabeda Sattar, 61, of Fort Worth, and Jeffrey Paul Cornwell, a/k/a "Boomer," 43, of McKinney, were indicted by a federal grand jury on December 11. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to make an unlawful kickback arrangement involving payments for the referral of federal health care beneficiaries, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. According to the indictment, the illegal arrangement concerned the referral of testing services to clinical laboratories located in Frisco and Richmond, Virginia in exchange for per-test compensation.
The Sattars were arraigned on Dec. 30, 2019, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson. Cornwell's initial appearance took place on Tuesday also before Judge Johnson.
If convicted, the Sattars and Cornwell each face up to five years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the State of Texas Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Nathaniel Kummerfeld.
It is important to note, the release stated, that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.