Suburban Chicago Physician Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison on Bribery Charge
ROCKFORD — A Suburban Chicago physician was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala to 30 months in federal prison, to be followed by a term of supervised release of one year, for bribery concerning health care programs receiving federal funds.
NEIL SHARMA, 37, of Lemont, who pleaded guilty to the charge on Feb. 2, 2017, has been a licensed Illinois physician since March 2011. Between September 2013 and March 2015, he was the Medical Director of a company identifed in court records as "Company A," a managed care services company that contracted to provide health care services to Medicare and Medicaid patients. As stated in a plea agreement, the State of Illinois contracted with Company A to provide skilled nursing services to patients located in certain facilities. These patients were covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or both. In early 2015, Company A subcontracted with three other companies to provide skilled nursing services. Sharma admitted that from Feb. 13, 2015 to March 13, 2015, he corruptly solicited bribes from an owner of one of the three subcontractors.
In exchange for the bribes, Sharma stated that he would provide the subcontractor with more skilled nursing patients and with additional Medicaid and Medicare patients through Company A’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 bribes would bring in millions of dollars to the subcontractor. Sharma accepted cash payments of $2,500 and $7,500 from the owner of the subcontractor before being arrested by FBI agents.
The sentence was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting 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. Attorney Scott R. Paccagnini.