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Friday, October 26, 2007

Is That Really a Crime? Doctor Convicted of Ripping Off Insurers

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 4:26 PM

For years, doctors have lamented the strong arm of insurance companies, which often refuse to cover expensive procedures, forcing patients into lesser options and physicians into used BMWs. Dr. Mohammed Aiti found a way to beat the system. Aiti’s practice boasted offices in Canton, Massillon, Dover, and Cleveland. For decades, things seemed to go swimmingly for the doctor and his lovely wife. While other practices were closing shop, Aiti’s business was booming. He had the Porsche to prove it. Then, in 2000, things took a turn for the worse. One employee quit and filed suit against Aiti and his wife to nullify his non-compete agreement, according to federal court documents. In his suit, the employee alleged that Aiti falsely diagnosed hundreds of his patients with heart problems, ordered unnecessary tests, falsified results, and prescribing medication without even examining patients. None of this was particularly helpful to patients. But it was very helpful in separating insurance companies from their money. And that’s something we can all get behind. Unfortunately, more patients and doctors began complaining to the Ohio Medical Board to the FBI. In 2005 alone, Aiti billed Medicare over $1.6 million and Medicaid over $2 million for unnecessary cardiovascular and stress tests. “Dr. Aiti tells patients that he will give them prescriptions for medications such as Vicodin if they agree to come in for stress tests,” one patient alleged in federal court documents. Last year, the feds finally indicted Aiti and his wife for committing health insurance fraud. On October 24, he pleaded guilty to the charges, agreeing to forfeit $1.9 million and his medical license. He also faces up to five years in federal prison. – Denise Grollmus

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