A federal jury in Houston Thursday convicted a psychiatrist in a $158 million Medicare fraud involving seven years of false claims for mental health treatment that was never provided.
Sharon Iglehart, 58, of Harris County, Texas, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of health care fraud, and three counts of making false statements relating to health care matters.
Her conviction followed a seven-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. of the Southern District of Texas.
Iglehart is scheduled to be sentenced on December 5.
Twelve others have already been convicted for their roles in the fraud.
From 2006 until June 2012, Iglehart and others submitted false claims to Medicare through Riverside General Hospital under a partial hospitalization program (PHP).
A PHP is a form of intensive outpatient treatment for severe mental illness.
Most of the Medicare beneficiaries that Riverside billed Medicare for didn’t receive PHP services.
The first four defendants were convicted by a jury in October 2014.
- Earnest Gibson III, the former president of Riverside, was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
- Earnest Gibson IV, the operator of one of Riverside’s PHP satellite locations, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- Regina Askew, a group home owner and patient file auditor, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
- Robert Crane, a patient recruiter, is waiting to be sentenced.
Mohammad Khan, an assistant administrator at the hospital, who managed its PHPs, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The DOJ said Thursday that “most of the Medicare beneficiaries for whom Riverside billed Medicare rarely saw a psychiatrist and did not receive intensive psychiatric treatment.”
Iglehart falsified patient records to make it look like she had treated them at Riverside facilities.
William Bullock, an operator of a Riverside satellite location, also pleaded guilty, along with Leslie Clark, Robert Ferguson, Waddie McDuffie, and Sharonda Holmes. They were all involved in paying or taking kickbacks.
They’re waiting to be sentenced.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.