Indian-Origin Doctor Pleads Guilty To Taking Bribes In U.S.

Thursday, 27 March 2014, 12:00 Hrs
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NEW YORK: An Indian-origin pediatrician in the U.S. has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running scheme operated by a diagnostic firm.

Surender Gorukanti, 46, of Brooklyn, New York, admitted before U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of accepting bribes, attorney Paul Fishman said.

Besides Gorukanti, 24 people — including 14 physicians — have pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme, which its organizers have admitted involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to the diagnostic firm from Medicare and various private insurance companies.

Gorukanti admitted he accepted cheques of $1,000 per month as bribes from the firm in return for referring patient blood specimens to it.

The bribery count to which Gorukanti pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 16.

As part of his guilty plea, Gorukanti agreed to forfeit $14,000, representing the bribes he received from the firm.

The investigation has recovered more than $7 million to date through forfeiture.
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