Pittsford psychiatrist pleads guilty to health care fraud
June 18, 2020
Psych Muhammad Cheema
Pittsford, N.Y. – A psychiatrist from Pittsford has pleaded guilty to health care fraud. Prosecutors say he submitted thousands of false claims for psychotherapy-related services he claimed to have provided.
Dr. Muhammad Cheema, 47, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in October.
Prosecutors say Cheema submitted close to 5,000 false claims between 2013 and 2017.They say he collected more than $218,000 in payments from healthcare benefit programs he wasn’t entitled to receive.
Federal investigators say video surveillance was conducted at Cheema’s office, and his departures and arrivals were compare to his patient schedule. They say it was determined he falsely reported how much time he was spending with patients.
Court papers stated one of Cheema’s patients reported their appointments “lasted approximately five minutes” and that he “would act like he didn’t care about (The patient) during the appointments”.
Investigators found Cheema was upcoding office visits on a regular basis and billed for services he didn’t provide. On more than one occasion, Cheema reportedly prescribed drugs to an undercover patient without doing a physical exam or psychotherapy.
Cheema is scheduled to be sentenced October 6.