AG Gansler: Bethesda Doctor Ordered to Pay $17 Million for Health Care Fraud
Maryland to get more than $300,000, triple damages under False Claims Act
Baltimore, MD ( July 31, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Dr. Ishtiaq A. Malik, of Bethesda, and two companies that he owns -- Ishtiaq A. Malik M.D., P.C., and Advanced Nuclear Diagnostics, P.C., operating in the District of Columbia -- have been ordered to pay more than $17 million for submitting false or fraudulent claims to state and federal health care programs. As part of the summary judgment issued by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins, the defendants are ordered to pay Maryland $305,151.24, triple the amount of improperly billed services reimbursed by the Maryland Medicaid Program. Maryland's False Claims Act provides for triple damages in certain Medicaid fraud actions.
"If anyone tries to defraud Maryland taxpayers using the Medicaid Program, this office will use all the tools we have to recover that money and much more," said Attorney General Gansler. "Although we hope to never again confront this type of fraud, let this penalty send a message that this type of theft of taxpayer dollars carries a severe penalty."
In February of this year, Maryland and the District of Columbia joined the federal government's 2012 lawsuit against Dr. Malik and his companies. The lawsuit resulted from illegal claims for payment submitted by the defendants to Medicaid, Medicare and other government health care programs in connection with cardiac nuclear stress tests.
An investigation revealed that the defendants double-billed for some services, submitted claims for additional services that were not related to the treatment that was provided and billed for services that were never provided. They also engaged in a practice known as unbundling – billing separately for procedures that are included as part of another service for which they also billed in full.
Malik and his companies were also ordered to pay penalties of $5,500 for each false claim submitted to a government health care program, totaling an additional $1,672,000. Maryland's share of that amount has yet to be determined. Additionally, the federal government will receive three times the fraudulent claims submitted, totaling more than $15 million; the District's Medicaid Program will also receive triple damages, totaling more than $390,000.
In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Deputy Director Shelly Marie Martin, Assistant Attorney General Jeremy Dykes and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigative auditor Carol Kelley for their work on this case.