Sunday, January 17, 2021

Texas health care executive jailed for 76 months in fraud case

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A former health care executive who had a hand in two of the largest health care frauds in Texas history — Forest Park Medical Center and NextHealth — was sentenced Friday to 76 months in federal prison.

Semyon Narasov, 55, pleaded guilty in 2018 to conspiracy to commit money laundering at NextHealth and conspiracy to pay and receive bribes and kickbacks while at Forest Park.

He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary of the Northern District of Ohio, who presided over the trial of nine Forest Park defendants last year. Seven of the nine were convicted in that case, one was acquitted and one defendant later pleaded guilty after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

“This defendant was a central figure in not one, but two significant healthcare fraud schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “We cannot and will not allow health professionals to pervert an industry that should be solely focused on helping patients.”

Narasov’s sentencing follows that of his business partner, Andrew Hillman, who received a 66-month prison sentence in December on similar charges for his part in the NextHealth and Forest Park schemes. Hillman was also fined $3 million.

According to court documents, Mr. Narasov admitted that Forest Park paid the two men $190,000 to refer patients to the facility or to surgeons with privileges there.

Narasov and Mr. Hillman said they submitted phony invoices to conceal the bribes, which were funneled through Adelaide Business Solutions, a shell entity, he said.

Mr. Narasov also admitted that while at NextHealth, he and Mr. Hillman submitted an estimated $450 million in fraudulent claims to private and government health insurance providers – seeking reimbursement for prescriptions that were medically unnecessary, prescriptions for misbranded, non-FDA-approved drugs, and prescriptions prescribed by physicians who were receiving kickbacks, all while falsely claiming they had charged patients co-pays.

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