Sacred Heart doctor convicted in kickback scheme

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A doctor caught up in the federal investigation of a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme at the now-shuttered Sacred Heart Hospital on Chicago’s West Side was convicted Thursday of taking a kickback in exchange for patient referrals.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly found Shanin Moshiri guilty of one count in an indictment that alleged he took a $2,000 check in March 2013 as part of what prosecutors called a “sham” deal designed to steer patients to the hospital.

The judge pointed not only to secretly recorded conversations of Moshiri talking about his patient referrals while accepting his checks in 2013 but to Moshiri’s own admission to law enforcement in April 2013 that his contract at Sacred Heart “turned into” payments for patient referrals.

Kennelly also acquitted Moshiri on two other criminal counts that accused him of taking kickbacks. Those payments were allegedly made in 2010 and pre-dated Moshiri’s covertly recorded comments.

Prosecutors called Moshiri’s contract to serve as an administrator and instructor for the podiatric residency program at the hospital a “sham” designed to conceal his kickbacks. They said the hospital appeared to be paying him more than $150,000 between November 2006 and April 2013 for teaching services but in reality the money was for patient referrals.

While the judge said Moshiri appeared to be “overpaid,” he said there was little evidence Moshiri knew he was being compensated for patient referrals until his incriminating comments were caught on tape in 2013.

Moshiri’s attorney has said the evidence at Moshiri’s bench trial showed that “Dr. Moshiri gave his best effort to support the residents and, indirectly, benefitted the hospital by shoring up its residency program which had its own financial benefit beyond patient billings.”

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