Doctor pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud Psychiatrist will serve 3 months, pay $285,000

September 28, 1996|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

A Potomac psychiatrist who billed Medicaid for hours of therapy he didn't provide pleaded guilty yesterday to Medicaid fraud, agreeing to serve a three-month sentence and pay nearly $300,000 to the Medicaid program.

Manouchehr Sadri, 53, who practiced principally in Prince George's County, claimed to Medicaid and insurance companies that he had conducted more 50-minute sessions than there are hours in the day, according to a memorandum submitted by the Medicaid fraud control unit of the Maryland Attorney General's office. In one instance, he claimed to have seen a patient for more than an hour when hospital records showed she was near death and virtually unable to speak.

Under a plea agreement, Sadri must pay Medicaid $275,000 over four years, and a $10,000 fine. He received a maximum sentence of five years, but it was suspended so that he will serve 90 days. Prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges of tax perjury and to ask Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman to recommend that the state Division of Correction hold Sadri in home detention.

Hammerman did so, but had harsh words for Sadri and said he regretted the agreement didn't require him to perform community service to further atone.

"He has abused the citizens of this state," Hammerman said. "I am particularly disturbed when I find a defendant, whatever the charges may be, who has all the benefits one may have in life and then abuses those benefits and those gifts in such a way."

Sadri's attorney, Bruce L. Marcus, disputed the state's version of his client's activities, saying Sadri was an "extremely, extremely hard-working individual," who now works with a troubled population of clients in Southeast Washington. He said the doctor would endure significant hardship -- including possible loss of his license to practice in Maryland.

Sadri told the judge that while "I'm not saying that I spent all those times face to face," he made himself available to patients after hours for help. That caused Hammerman to question whether Sadri was admitting responsibility.

But in the end, Sadri answered yes when asked whether he had submitted at least some of the invoices knowing he had not provided the services they described.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said that despite what he called "a strong case," he felt Sadri had received as much punishment as he would if the case had gone to trial. He said the important thing was that Sadri would likely be prohibited from treating Medicaid and Medicare patients for at least the next five years and would pay back what he stole plus much more in damages.

Pub Date: 9/28/96

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