Suspended west suburban doctor gets 18 months for health care fraud

(CHICAGO) A suspended west suburban physician was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday for health care fraud and illegally prescribing prescription drugs.

Sathish Narayanappa Babu, 47, owner of Anik Life Sciences Medical Corp. in Darien, pleaded guilty last September to one count of health care fraud and one count of illegally prescribing a controlled substance, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

U.S. District Court Judge John J. Tharp handed down the sentence and ordered Babu to pay more than $221,000 in restitution, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Babu must also serve three years of supervised release.

“This crime wasn’t an isolated act, it was a calculated, systematic effort to milk Medicare,” Tharp said during the sentencing hearing. “The defendant was stealing money from those in need … putting many in need at risk.”

Between November 2012 and December 2013, Babu wrote five prescriptions for medications including oxycodone to a patient he had never seen or examined, prosecutors said.

The patient was actually an undercover agent, posing as a person on disability covered by Medicare and claiming to have shoulder pain from a previous injury, officials said.

Babu also admitted that he illegally prescribed oxycodone and other controlled substances, and fraudulently billed Medicare about $500,000 — collecting $216,000 — for services he did not provide over a period of more than two years.

Babu also told his office staff to order tests for patients without regard to medical necessity, and permitted unlicensed staff members to fill prescriptions and order refills. He also hired three foreign medical school graduates who were not licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. to conduct home visits, and advertised them as doctors.

As part of his plea agreement, Babu agreed to forfeit about $126,000 that was seized when he was arrested, as well as three vehicles — a 2013 BMW, 2001 BMW, and 2010 Lexus, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Babu, of Bolingbrook, will begin serving his sentence on May 13, authorities said.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation suspended Babu’s physician’s license and controlled substance license, held since 2008, according to the department.

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