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Doctor indicted for stealing $1 million in healthcare payments

Sun-Times file photo

A suburban physician has been indicted for pocketing nearly $1 million in fraudulent health insurance claims through his southwest suburban Palos Heights medical practice.

Dr. Pranav Patel, 51, of Burr Ridge allegedly submitted false insurance claims for medical tests and exams while he owned and operated the Palos Medical Care practice, according to the Northern District of Illinois’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.

From 2008 to 2013, Patel used some of his patients’ names without their knowledge to obtain at least $950,000 in fraudulent payments from Medicare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, according to attorney’s office.

Patel submitted several insurance claims for a non-invasive “duplex scans” that were never actually performed on a patient, the attorney’s office said.

In one instance, Patel fabricated a seven-page medical record for a patient’s follow-up exam that never happened, the attorney’s office said. During the patient’s visit, Patel had only refilled their prescription.

The indictment charges Patel with seven counts of healthcare fraud, three counts of making false statements and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

Identity theft is punishable by a mandatory two-year sentence. Healthcare fraud is punishable by up to 10 years, and making false statements carries a maximum of five years.

Patel’s arraignment is set for May 15.