The attorney for a Maine physician indicted on 118 counts of healthcare fraud said the physician will plead not guilty at his Aug. 20 arraignment. A federal grand jury last week indicted Osama El-Sayed Abdella El-Silimy, M.D., an otholaryngologist, for allegedly obstructing justice, filing false claims, and committing healthcare fraud and other crimes.
El-Silimy could face up to 15 years in prison, and he and his clinic in Caribou, Maine, could face a total of $1 million in fines.
In court documents, the government said El-Silimy performed surgeries without trying other diagnostic and treatment options and billed insurers for those surgeries. The government also alleged that when El-Silimy learned of a Medicaid audit in 2001, he and his staff modified patient records to support the bills that had been submitted.
When federal investigators interviewed about 70 of El-Silimy's patients in January 2002, $434,102 was withdrawn from the clinic's bank account and deposited in a new account in the name of the doctor's wife. According to the indictment, the money was later deposited in a bank in the U.K.
El-Silimy's attorney, Jay McCloskey, said the doctor is "anxious for his day in court." McCloskey called the government's conduct in the investigation "nothing short of outrageous" and said investigators prejudiced patients against El-Silimy.
McCloskey also said the case would set a dangerous precedent by criminalizing medical judgment.
El-Silimy attended medical school in Cairo, Egypt, and is a British citizen, but has practiced in the United States since 1999.