Amherst Doctor Pleads Guilty To Theft From Insurance Companies
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Sreekrishna Cheruvu, 61, of East Amherst, NY, pleaded guilty, during trial, before Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to theft from a health care benefit program. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maura K. O’Donnell and Elizabeth R. Moellering, who are handling the case, stated that between January 2011 and May 2014, the defendant was a practicing physician in Amherst, NY who submitted claims to Independent Health (IHA), Univera, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York (HealthNow) for medical services he purportedly rendered.
Cheruvu was also a participating provider with HealthNow. On August 7, 2012, the defendant submitted a claim form to HealthNow for reimbursement for services provided to patient “K.S.” On the form, Cheruvu claimed he provided services to “K.S.,” when, in fact, the defendant personally provided no services to the patient. As a result, HealthNow reimbursed the defendant $61.23 for the non-rendered service which the defendant converted to his own use.
Between January 2011 and May 2014, IHA, Univera, and HealthNow, lost approximately $196,615 as a result of Cheruvu’s conduct. As part of his plea, Cheruvu agreed to pay restitution in the amount of up to $550,000.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 5, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Skretny.