Ghanshyam Bhambhani and New York Cardiology, P.C. Pay $2 Million to Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit Alleging Submission of False Claims to Medicare and Medicaid
August 20, 2020 – Former Cardiologist Ghanshyam Bhambhani and his former medical practice New York Cardiology, P.C. have agreed to pay $2 million under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) and to settle a whistleblower case brought by a Relator who alleged that Bhambhani and New York Cardiology violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b) (“AKS”) through an unlawful rental arrangement with referring physicians and generated false claims for cardiac procedures using fraudulent documentation, thereby defrauding the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The “qui tam” (whistleblower) lawsuit against Bhambhani and New York Cardiology was filed in 2014 in federal district court in Brooklyn and remained pending during a parallel criminal investigation and prosecution of Bhambhani by the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office. In 2018, Bhambhani was convicted on a guilty plea of one count of conspiracy to pay healthcare kickbacks and sentenced to 34 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
In agreeing to the settlement, Bhambhani and New York Cardiology admitted that they falsified records to justify cardiac procedures and provided compensation to certain physicians, disguised as rent, which was actually compensation for referrals of patients.
The Relator who brought the lawsuit against Bhambhani and New York Cardiology under the FCA was represented by Kaiser Law Firm, PLLC.
“This case reflects the importance of using all the tools in the government’s arsenal, both civil and criminal, to hold unscrupulous medical providers accountable,” said Geoffrey R. Kaiser, a whistleblower attorney and Principal of Kaiser Law Firm, PLLC, “especially where, as here, Bhambhani not only defrauded Medicare and Medicaid through violations of the anti-kickback statute, but also jeopardized public health by generating claims for medically unnecessary cardiac procedures using fraudulent documentation.”
$1,370,294.50 of the settlement amount will be paid to the United States for Medicare-related conduct and the federal portion of Medicaid-related conduct.
$629,705.50 will be paid to New York State for the state portion of Medicaid- related conduct covered under the settlement agreement.
The federal False Claims Act and similar state laws offer whistleblowers (frequently called “Relators”) protections and rewards to encourage them to file qui tam lawsuits against individuals and entities that are stealing from the government through Medicare fraud and other types of fraud. The laws also allow whistleblowers and their counsel to independently pursue FCA claims on behalf of the government when the government declines to join a qui tam lawsuit.
Case citation: United States of America, et al., ex rel. FNU-LNU LLC vs. New York Cardiology, P.C. and Ghanshyam Bhambhani, Case No. 14-CV-4581
About Kaiser Law Firm, PLLC
Kaiser Law Firm, PLLC is a boutique law firm dedicated to providing experienced representation for whistleblowers reporting fraud against the government. Founded by Geoffrey R. Kaiser, a former federal prosecutor in both the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, Kaiser Law Firm, PLLC has notable expertise in health care fraud and other financial fraud against the government, as well as complex fraud investigations. The firm’s Whistleblower Practice focuses on the representation of individuals and entities bringing claims under fraud and abuse laws, including federal and state False Claims Acts. www.kaiserfirm.com