Napa Doctor Charged With Health Care Fraud, Tax Fraud
SAN FRANCISCO – Ali Sedghi Vaziri of Napa, Calif., was charged yesterday by a federal grand jury in San Francisco with nine counts of health care fraud and six counts of filing a false Federal Income Tax Return, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.
The superseding indictment adds health care fraud charges to the tax fraud charges contained in the original indictment returned by the grand jury on April 12, 2012. According to the Superseding Indictment, Vaziri was a medical doctor who owned and operated a medical practice in Napa. Between 2007 and Oct. 21, 2011, Vaziri allegedly defrauded health care benefit programs in connection with payment for health care benefits and services by submitting false claims that reflected a higher level of service than he actually provided, a practice known as upcoding.
On April 17, 2012, Vaziri pled not guilty to the tax fraud charges contained in the original indictment and was released on a $250,000 secured bond. The tax fraud charges contained in the superseding indictment are identical to the charges in the original indictment. According to the indictment, for 2005 and 2006, Vaziri allegedly overstated his business expenses on his tax returns for those years. For 2007 and 2008, Vaziri overstated his total deductions on his corporate income tax returns filed for those years.
Vaziri is scheduled to be arraigned on the superseding indictment on July 5, 2012, before United States Magistrate Court Judge Maria-Elena James. Vaziri is next scheduled to appear in District Court on Aug. 6, 2012, before United States District Court Judge James Ware.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of health care fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1347, is 10 years in prison and a fine equal to two times the gross gain or loss. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of willfully subscribing a false income tax return, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1), is three years in prison and a fine of $100,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Katherine B. Dowling is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting this case with the assistance of Maryam Beros and Rawaty Yim. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Vaziri must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.