Suburban Chicago Physician Pleads Guilty to Federal Bribery Charge
ROCKFORD — A Suburban Chicago physician pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala to bribery concerning health care programs receiving federal funds.
NEIL SHARMA, 36, of Lemont, has been a licensed Illinois physician since March 2011. Between September 2013 and March 2015, he was the Medical Director of a managed care services company that contracted with both Medicare and Medicaid to provide health care benefits.
As stated in a plea agreement, the State of Illinois contracted with the company to provide skilled nursing services to patients who were covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or both. In early 2015, the company contracted with three other firms to provide skilled nursing services. Sharma admitted that from Feb. 13, 2015, to March 13, 2015, as Medical Director and an agent of the company, he corruptly solicited and accepted cash payments of $2,500 and $7,500 from an individual in exchange for Sharma sending more patients to the individual’s company, and for providing that company with additional Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries through Sharma’s company’s anti-depressant monitoring program and hospital re-admission program.
As stated in the plea agreement, the additional business Sharma promised in exchange for the bribe would bring in millions of dollars.
Sharma faces a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release of up to three years following imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is set for May 11, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., before Judge Kapala in Rockford.
The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott R. Paccagnini and Joseph C. Pedersen.