SYRACUSE, New York: United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced the sentencing last week of Mahesh Kuthuru, 43, a physician of a Utica and Fulton area pain management practice, according to an FBI press release.
Kuthuru, owner and operator of Upstate Pain Management with offices in Fulton and Utica, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge David N. Hurd to 18 months for health care fraud, and 12 months for unlawful distribution of controlled substances, to run concurrently, ordered to pay $84,265.11 restitution due to Medicare, along with a $125 special assessment. The defendant will serve three years of supervised release upon release from prison. He was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals upon being sentenced.
“The public expects physicians to apply high standards of professionalism in their interactions with their patients and delivery of health care services. Actions such as these demonstrate a complete disregard to the quality of care for patients. These criminal activities place additional burden on the public seeking competent health services, resulting in rising costs of health care,” said Hartunian. “Health care fraud remains a priority of my office and we will continue to aggressively prosecute such cases.”
On January 22, Kuthuru pled guilty to executing a scheme to defraud Medicare, and other health care benefit programs by submitting a claim that the defendant had rendered medical services to a patient, when, in fact, neither he, nor any physician, nor any licensed non-physician practitioner acting under his direct supervision, had rendered those services. On that same date, Kuthuru also pled guilty to unlawfully distributing controlled substances, a misdemeanor.
According to the Indictment, Kuthuru, and co-defendant Bonnie Meislin, engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting claims for reimbursement that falsely represented that Kuthuru had performed medical services when in fact he had not.
Kuthuru purchased a medical practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November 2008. In July 2009 Kuthuru sold his home in Baldwinsville and purchased a home in Las Vegas. By January 2010 through at least September 2011, Kuthuru was spending the majority of his time at his Las Vegas medical practice, coming back to the Utica and Fulton offices to treat patients only on a sporadic basis. From January 2010 through September 2011 there were substantial periods of time when there were no licensed medical personnel whatsoever in the Utica and Fulton offices. Patients there were seen only by unlicensed staff members who had received no formal medical training.
The indictment further charged Kuthuru with unlawful distribution of Schedule II controlled substances including Oxycodone, Oxycotin, Methadone and Morphine Sulphate.