CHICAGO | A suspended South Holland podiatrist will serve 18 months in a federal prison for his part in a health fraud scheme.
In addition to the sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Kocoras ordered Paschal U. Oparah, 47, to pay $791,095 in restitution, stated a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
Federal authorities said Oparah, who pleaded guilty to health care fraud in April 2011, cooperated in the government’s investigation of House Call Physicians LLC in southwest suburban Palos Hills.
The executive manager and co-owner of the home health care business, Bahir Haj Khalil, 34, of Palos Hills, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on six counts of defrauding Medicare of more than $2.9 million by submitting tens of thousands of false medical claims. His business partner, Mohammed Khamis Rashed, 46, of Chicago, was convicted of one count of visa fraud for attempt to illegally obtain a work visa for Khalil, a Canadian citizen.
Rashed received a six-month sentence and was fined $20,000. Khalil must pay more than $2.9 million in restitution and forfeiture.
The health care fraud scheme involved billing for services as if they were performed by physicians, when in fact they were performed by a physician’s assistant, according to the federal complaint. Podiatry services were billed as if they were performed by a particular licensed podiatrist, when in fact they were performed by Oparah while his license was suspended, according to the complaint.