Ken Paxton

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Attorney General Abbott Announces Conviction Of Houston Doctor In Medicare/Medicaid Scam

HOUSTON - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced the conviction of Dr. Anant Mauskar, 72, of Houston in two elaborate schemes to profit from billing Medicare and Medicaid for motorized wheelchairs for patients who did not need them and for physical therapy sessions that did not occur.

Anant was found guilty in federal court on 20 counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He received kickbacks for writing fraudulent prescriptions for expensive motorized wheelchairs, a scheme that cost the public’s health care programs millions of dollars due to fraudulent claims. U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein set sentencing for Mauskar for Feb. 24, 2006.

Public health care programs exist to help those in need, not to line the pockets of scam artists, said Attorney General Abbott. I was pleased that my office could join forces with federal authorities in this case wehre a jury of citizens saw right through this scheme.

After a jury deadlocked in Mauskar’s first trial last April, the new jury heard 10 days of convincing testimony from experts and prosecutors and delivered its unanimous guilty verdict Thursday.

Evidence revealed that from August 1999 through January 2000, Mauskar submitted numerous false claims for reimbursement for physical therapy sessions with patients he never treated. Then, from mid-2000 until December 2003, he filed false claims on behalf of patients requiring motorized wheelchairs. He billed Medicare $4 million for these services and actually received $1.4 million in reimbursement. Several patients whom Mauskar claimed to have consulted for the services testified that he never examined them.

The conspiracy conviction carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Each of the health care fraud convictions carries a maximum 10-year sentence and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI, with prosecution assistance provided by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel Louis and Cedric Joubert prosecuted the case.