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Mississippi doctor gets 4 years in health care fraud scheme

A federal judge has sentenced a Mississippi doctor to four years in prison for his role in a health care fraud scheme.

Posted: Jun 17, 2020 2:28 PM

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a Mississippi doctor to four years in prison for his role in a health care fraud scheme.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett handed down the sentence against Dr. Shahjahan Sultan, 38, of Madison, and ordered him to pay restitution of $4.1 million to Express Scripts, $582,280 to CVS Caremark and $115,611 to Catamaran.

A $2.3 million money judgment also was imposed against Sultan, who formerly practiced in Vicksburg. According to Sultan’s attorney, former state Supreme Court Justice Chuck McRae, at least $4 million has already been repaid.

News outlets reported that Sultan pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit health care fraud after he and co-conspirators were accused in a 15-count indictment of prescribing millions of dollars of unnecessary compound pain creams and weight-loss pills to patients for reimbursement from May 2014 to January 2015. The court held Sultan responsible for $8 million in intended losses to health care providers.

Sultan apologized during the sentencing hearing.

“I was an idiot, pardon my harsh language,” he said. “This has been a monkey on my back. I want this all to go away, but it never goes away.”

Sultan also warned other young doctors not to fall for something that sounds too good to be true.

“I lost just about everything,” he said. “But I’m not the victim here. Thinking that you’re part of the problem — it’s a hard pill to swallow.”

Prosecutors said Sultan entered into a contract with a Jackson County pharmacy in May 2014 to prescribe individuals expensive compound medications. In return, the pharmacy would pay Sultan 35% of the reimbursements it received after billing health care providers for the prescriptions Sultan wrote, according to the authorities.

Sultan employed others to identify people in places like Jones County whose insurance covered the medications. The doctor met with those people over video-chat sessions but did not perform thorough examinations or determine the medical necessity of the compound medications he prescribed. Prosecutors said Sultan was aware that some added ingredients to the medications he prescribed were not effective and were introduced for the purpose of increasing the reimbursement value. He was also accused of calling in compound medications for people he had not examined.

A Tennessee doctor, Thomas Edward Sturdavant, 56, and two Mississippi registered nurses, Freda Covington, 54, of Hattiesburg, and Fallon Page, 36, of Soso, were indicted with Sultan.

Sturdavant and Covington each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Sturdavant is scheduled to be sentenced on June 22, while Covington's sentence is set for June 24. Page pleaded guilty to mail fraud and sentencing is set for July 7.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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