Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2020
Kenner Psychiatrist Sentenced In Scheme to Defraud Medicare by Soliciting and Receiving Kickback Payments for Medically Unnecessary Home Health Referrals
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that PADMINI NAGARAJ, age 62, a resident of Kenner, Louisiana was sentenced on January 9, 2020 by U.S. District Judge Barry W. Ashe to four years’ probation, which includes 250 hours of community service, in connection with her guilty plea to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition, NAGARAJ was fined $10,000 and agreed to pay restitution to the Medicare program.
According to court records, NAGARAJ admitted that, between September 2012 and July 2014, in return for accepting illegal health care kickbacks, she referred beneficiaries who she treated at a Louisiana-based psychiatric facility for medically unnecessary home health services and further fraudulently certified that the beneficiaries were eligible to receive such services. NAGARAJ admitted that she accepted $1,500 a month from four different home health agencies, which were disguised kickbacks. NAGARAJ also admitted that she moved her patients to the different home health agencies based on whichever agency agreed to pay her a kickback. The home health agencies then submitted the fraudulent claims to Medicare and were reimbursed for the medically unnecessary home health services.
U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services for their work investigating the case. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Jared Hasten, Katherine Payerle, and Claire Yan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.