A Louisiana cardiologist, Dr. Mehmood M. Patel, was recently sentenced to ten years in prison after his criminal conviction last year for making false claims to government health programs as well as private insurers for medically unnecessary stents and angioplasties. The doctor was sentenced by
U.S. District Judge Tucker Melançon to the maximum allowable penalty of ten years in prison, in addition to a $175,000 fine and restitution charges of $387,511.

Now that the criminal case is over and the doctor is serving his sentence, a federal False Claims Act lawsuit will resume against the doctor and his heart clinics. Under the False Claims Act, private citizens may conduct litigation in cases of government fraud and retain a portion of any recovery. The whistleblower suit was filed by Dr. Christopher Mallavarapu, one of Patel’s former associates. The suit was filed against Patel and two hospitals where he worked, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center.and Lafayette General Medical Center. Both hospitals have paid substantial settlements to resolve charges that their staff failed to respond to complaints that Patel was performing unnecessary medical procedures.

Patel was to report to federal prison on July 6.

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