SACRAMENTO, California — Anita Vijay, 50, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to pay and receive illegal kickbacks in exchange for Medicare beneficiary referrals and to soliciting kickbacks in exchange for Medicare beneficiary referrals, United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Vijay worked as the Social Services Director at a skilled nursing and assisted living facility in Sacramento. In her role, Vijay assisted Medicare beneficiaries in selecting home health care and hospice agencies following their discharge from the facility. She used her position to steer Medicare beneficiaries to home health agencies in Folsom and El Dorado Hills and a hospice agency in Folsom. In exchange for the referrals, the agencies’ owners paid her and her husband, Jai Vijay, illegal cash kickbacks.
In her plea agreement, Vijay admitted that the agencies’ owners paid her and her husband kickbacks in exchange for the referral of approximately 60 beneficiaries. Medicare paid the agencies approximately $400,000 for services they purportedly provided to the beneficiaries. Because the agencies obtained the referrals by paying kickbacks, they should not have received any reimbursement from Medicare.
This case is a product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.
U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley is scheduled to sentence Vijay on December 3. She faces maximum statutory penalties of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and ten years in prison for the kickback charge. Vijay also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss or gain. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
On February 6, Jai Vijay pled guilty to conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks in exchange for Medicare beneficiary referrals.