Home » Three Montgomery County dentists bilked Medicaid for millions, a federal indictment says

Three Montgomery County dentists bilked Medicaid for millions, a federal indictment says

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Federal officials have accused the owners of a Montgomery County-based dental conglomerate of running their business like a criminal enterprise. It claims millions of dollars from government health care programs, illegally imports foreign workers, and puts patients at risk by implanting unapproved medical devices in their mouths for profit. .

Brother Bhaskar Savani of Ambler, 57 years old. Bluebell’s Arun Savani, 55 years old. Niranjan Savani, 51, of Columbia, South Carolina, has broken at least 10 counts of law from 2009 to last year when he tried to make more than $316 million in profits, prosecutors said Tuesday. said in a massive 102-page indictment published on

Investigators also said the brothers laundered illegal proceeds through hundreds of bank accounts to cover personal expenses such as paying their vacation home in Hawaii, their children’s college tuition, utilities and home taxes. He accused him of embezzling more than $4 million from nearly 30 companies.

The indictments against the Sabani family and nine accomplices include racketeering conspiracy, visa and health care fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to distribute counterfeit medical devices, while nearly 12 state and federal agencies have brought charges against them. It is the result of years of research. From the nondescript office park of Fort Washington to the empire overseen by Thavanis.

The brothers’ attorneys hesitated to press charges against the Sabani brothers, saying it was a distortion of the Sabani brothers’ company and careers, and they could face up to 20 years in prison for the most serious crimes they face.

“The three brothers are looking forward to their day in court and cherish the concept that people are presumed innocent in the country they built their homes in,” the attorney said in a statement. .

Seen through a certain lens, the business empire that Sabani has created since arriving in the United States is an undeniable success.

Bhaskar Savani, known as ‘Dr.’ after immigrating from India. B’ earned a degree in dentistry from Temple University in 1995 and quickly built his practice into an empire.

Apart from his dental practice, he has: Indian mango import evangelistin 2007 persuaded the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lift an 18-year ban and expand into real estate, One of the sponsors of a proposed indoor velodrome at Valley Forge in 2006.

Meanwhile, he brought in his brother Arun to oversee the finances of the business and fellow dentist Niranjan to help expand the core dental business into the empire.

Today, they oversee more than 50 dental clinics throughout the state, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Iowa and South Carolina, oversee a series of affiliates focused on research and development of dental implant devices, and employ over 400 people each year. employs and serves thousands of patients. Many come from urban centers and other underserved areas where there are few practitioners.

But prosecutors say serving these low-income clients, especially those enrolled in government-funded health care programs like Medicaid, was central to the Sabani brothers’ grievances. increase.

Among other crimes alleged in the indictment, Savanis is accused of relying on unlicensed dentists to treat patients in violation of Medicaid rules.

The Savani companies have asked these dentists to falsely report that other licensed dental providers they employ provided treatments for which Medicaid was billed, and named them It allegedly demanded rebates from doctors using it.

For example, between 2014 and 2018, Sabani companies filed about 2,600 complaints, falsely claiming that Niranjan Sabani was the dentist who performed the procedure, according to prosecutors.

According to the indictment, when authorities became aware of the scheme and canceled their Medicaid contracts with one Sabani company, they forced their employees to open another company, operate only in name, and win those contracts again.

From 2013 to last year, only one of those companies, Allentown-based Smilekrafters Dental, received about $80 million in Medicaid reimbursements based on fraudulently obtained contracts, according to the documents.

But even though the Sabani were taking advantage of Medicaid’s oversight weaknesses, prosecutors said their company was exploiting the foreign-born employees who worked for them.

The brothers recruit workers from India and elsewhere for jobs in the United States through programs aimed at hiring employees with specialized skills such as scientists, programmers, researchers and analysts. We recruited.

However, investigators found that many of the people they helped secure visas ostensibly for work at Sabani’s research-oriented firm went on to work in non-professional jobs running dental offices or in the general public. Ended up as a manager who was paid less than the standard wage and had to kickback some of the salaries to others in the company.

The indictment ostensibly portrays one of the Savanis-operated companies, Fort Washington-based EZ Biotek. It’s full of defunct lab equipment to fool immigration officials during their regular visits by immigration officials to verify that these employees are working in active dentistry. Or a chemical laboratory.

Still, some of the Savani company’s research work was justified, including that of Fort Washington-based Osseolink USA, which began developing a new class of artificial tooth implants for use in patients in 2017.

The implants had not yet received FDA approval, but the brothers’ company sent prototypes in bags labeled “not for human use” to several dental offices, where they were tested by the dentists the brothers hired. used them in the mouths of at least 18 patients, prosecutors said.

“Healthcare providers who have a duty to act in the best interest of their patients are particularly deceptive when they commit Medicaid fraud,” said Maureen R. Dixon, director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General. says.

In addition to criminal charges, prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of approximately 27 properties associated with Savanice and its businesses located in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Lehi counties, Iowa and Hawaii.

The brothers were released on pending trial bail after their first brief court appearance on Tuesday.

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