U.S. ophthalmologist Ameet Goyal pleads guilty to 7-year healthcare fraud scheme and defrauding SBA Program

AMEET Goyal, 58, an ophthalmologist in Rye, New York, pled guilty on Monday to perpetrating a seven-year healthcare fraud scheme by falsely billing for millions of dollars of procedures he did not perform, and also to fraudulently obtaining two Government-guaranteed loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic while facing charges on pretrial release for the healthcare fraud scheme, Audrey Strauss, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced on Tuesday.

Goyal pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel to all charges in a six-count superseding Indictment.

Strauss said: “Dr. Ameet Goyal was an experienced eye doctor who became blinded by greed and routinely defrauded patients who trusted him to heal their eyes. He grossly overbilled minor ophthalmological procedures, billed for tests and procedures that were never performed, falsified medical records, attempted to corrupt others in his practice to abet the scheme, and sent patients who refused to pay his fraudulent charges to collections.

“Already facing charges for defrauding patients and insurers of millions of dollars, Goyal committed a new fraud in applying for [Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”)] Paycheck Protection Program loans on behalf of two separate businesses and lying on the applications. Goyal looted over $630,000 in federal funds earmarked for legitimate small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Goyal has now admitted to both fraudulent schemes, agreed to forfeit $3.6 million, and faces the possibility of a significant term of incarceration.”

Goyal pled guilty to all six counts in the superseding indictment.  The first count charged healthcare fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; the second count charged wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and the third count charged making false statements relating to health care matters, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Counts four, five, and six charged that while on pretrial release, the defendant committed the following offenses, respectively: bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; making false statements on a loan application, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and making false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  Additionally, a conviction under counts four, five, and six, if committed while on pretrial release, provides for an additional maximum sentence of 10 years in prison consecutive to any other sentence of imprisonment.

Goyal is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Seibel on January 6, 2022.

Strauss praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Office of the Inspector General of the SBA, whose expertise and diligence were integral to the development of this investigation and the guilty plea.

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