Kings Point doctor charged with Medicaid fraud: AG

Kings Point doctor charged with Medicaid fraud: AG
A Kings Point doctor was indicted on Monday for various fraud charges, according to a release from the office of state Attorney General Letitia James. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A Kings Point doctor was indicted Monday for allegedly running a kickback scheme and forcing patients to receive invasive medical tests to defraud Medicaid, according to state Attorney General Letitia James.

Payam Toobian, 51, operated Empire Imaging, a diagnostic radiology center in Queens through his corporation, America’s Imaging, according to a release from James’ office. From 2006-2017, officials said Toobian is accused of giving three unnamed physicians more than $547,000 in cash, checks and gift cards in exchange for patient referrals from the physicians to Empire Imaging.

As a result, Empire Imaging received more than $1 million in claims relating to the physicians’ referrals, officials said. Toobian also allegedly instructed his employees at Empire Imaging to add on other unordered radiological procedures so Empire Imaging could receive more funds from Medicaid, prosecutors said.

The unnecessary tests included brain, cervical spine and lumbar spine MRIs, all of which required the patients to be forced into taking invasive injections, according to the release. Toobian allegedly instructed his staff to also submit the claims to Medicaid for payment.

“New Yorkers should be able to trust that their doctors are working to heal them, not profit off of their suffering,” James said in a statement. “Bribery and kickback schemes corrupt our healthcare system and make it impossible for patients to receive the care that they need. The idea that a licensed physician would subject patients to unnecessary testing to line their pockets is unconscionable, and my office will continue to go after medical providers that jeopardize the health and safety of New Yorkers.” 

Toobian is charged with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree health care fraud, eight counts of falsifying business records in the first degree and three counts of violating the Social Services Law statute prohibiting kickback payments, officials said. All are felony charges.

Efforts to reach law enforcement or Toobian for further comment on the matter were unavailing.

James’ office has also filed a separate civil lawsuit against Toobian and America’s Imaging, among others, for violating the state and federal False Claims Act and other causes of action. The separate lawsuit was submitted in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.

Toobian is scheduled to next appear in Queens Supreme Court on Sept. 12, officials said.

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