Dr. Vasso Godiali, a vascular surgeon in Bay City, Mich., was charged with orchestrating a $60 million healthcare fraud.
Federal prosecutors charged Godiali with submitting false claims for placing stents in dialysis patients and for treating arterial blood clots, according to a criminal indictment unsealed Wednesday. The surgeon also allegedly inflated and submitted false claims to Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, ultimately driving up healthcare costs and wasting taxpayer money.
He allegedly laundered the money through six corporations and used the proceeds to pay property taxes on his Houghton Lake, Mich. house.
"Once it became clear that the potential Medicare fraud exposure in this case was 10 times what our own Medicaid fraud exposure was, we reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office to increase the depth and breadth of the investigation," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in prepared remarks.
Federal prosecutors also filed a related civil lawsuit seeking $39.9 million from accounts controlled by Godiali related to four real estate transactions.
A healthcare fraud charge carries up to 10 years of prison time and a maximum fine of $250,000 on each of two counts. If convicted of money laundering, Godiali would serve a maximum sentence of 20 years and be fined up to twice the $49 million he allegedly laundered. He faces five counts.
"Healthcare fraud schemes, such as the one alleged to have been committed by Dr. Godiali, divert millions of dollars from public programs intended to help those in need for the sole purpose of lining the pockets of greedy doctors," U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in prepared remarks.