Doctor charged with accepting kickback for referring patients

SHARE Doctor charged with accepting kickback for referring patients
SHARE Doctor charged with accepting kickback for referring patients

A southwest suburban doctor has been charged with accepting a $2,500 kickback for referring patients to another company for medical services.

Neil Sharma, 34, is employed as medical director for an unnamed company that is contracted with both Medicare and Illinois Medicaid to provide health care benefits, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

On Feb. 13, Sharma met in Darien with the owner of a second company—which is contracted with his company to provide benefits to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries—and offered to refer that company 500 patients at an increased rate, according to federal prosecutors.

Sharma also offered to refer patients from two new programs his company was planning to implement in exchange for an immediate cash payment and additional monthly payments for an unspecified amount of time, prosecutors said. He planned to conceal the payments by being named medical director for the individual’s other health care companies.

That individual went to the FBI before meeting with Sharma in Rockford on Feb. 27 and giving him $2,500 in cash, according to court documents. The meeting was monitored by federal agents, who witnessed Sharma leaving with the money.

On March 9, the individual’s company began seeing new patients referred by Sharma, according to the statement.

Sharma, of Lemont, was arrested Friday morning and charged with receiving illegal remunerations, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000 and full restitution.

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