An Indian-origin physician has pleaded guilty to theft from healthcare benefit programmes and faces USD 100,000 fine. Sreekrishna Cheruvu, 61, of New York has pleaded guilty, during trial before Senior US District Judge William Skretny. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and USD 100,000 fine, US Attorney James Kennedy said. Between January 2011 and May 2014, Cheruvu was a practicing physician in Amherst who submitted claims to insurance programmes such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield for medical services he purportedly rendered.
Cheruvu was also a participating provider with healthcare plan HealthNow. In August 2012, he submitted a claim form to HealthNow for reimbursement for services provided to patient by the name of KS. On the form, Cheruvu claimed he provided services to KS when, in fact, he personally provided no services to the patient. As a result, HealthNow reimbursed the defendant USD 61.23 for the non-rendered service which the defendant converted to his own use. Between January 2011 and May 2014, the various medical insurance programmes lost approximately USD 196,615 as a result of Cheruvu’s conduct. As part of his plea, Cheruvu agreed to pay restitution in the amount of up to USD 550,000.