BAY CITY, Michigan (CNN) - A Bay City vascular surgeon pleaded guilty Tuesday in a scheme to defraud Medicaid, Medicare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield out of about $19.5 million.
Federal prosecutors say Dr. Vasso Godiali, 59, knowingly defrauded the medical insurers in around 2009 and did this through falsified billing. The plea agreement cites as evidence records showing the placement of stents in dialysis patients and treatment of arterial blood clots – services that prosecutors say were never performed.
"The scale of Dr. Godiali's fraud is stunning and his willingness to illegally enrich himself at the expense of our district's taxpayers and policyholders is egregious." said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison. "Brazen schemes like this have no place in our district, and today's guilty plea reflects my office's commitment to holding medical providers accountable when they abuse society's trust by engaging in such misconduct."
"When Dr. Godiali submitted claims for medical services that were never provided, he violated the trust of his patients and defrauded taxpayer-funded health care programs," said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto.
"Today's guilty plea should send a clear message to all health care providers that health care fraud is a federal crime that carries serious consequences and will not be tolerated," said Josh
P. Hauxhurst, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan.
Godiali's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15. He is looking at up to 10 years in prison and forfeiture of $19.5 million.
Godiali will be forced to pay the restitution to Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross Blue Shield, according to the terms of his plea agreement.
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