New York, Jan 27 (IANS) Eight Indian-Americans are among 12 dental practice owners and co-conspirators who have been charged for allegedly engaging in a multifaceted racketeering conspiracy through a multi-state network of dental practices in the US state of Pennsylvania.
The defendants were allegedly part of a wide-ranging scheme to defraud Medicaid, US Immigration authorities, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and to launder the fraud proceeds, a Department of Justice (DOJ) release said on Thursday.
The individuals were charged with operating and participating in a series of dental practices and related companies (the Savani Group) that engaged in visa fraud, health care fraud, wire fraud involving federal tax evasion, and money laundering.
Dentist brothers Bhaskar Savani, 57, and Niranjan Savani, 51, owned and controlled the Savani Group dental practices.
The third brother, Arun Savani, 55, owned and managed the Savani Group companies and was responsible for the Group's financial affairs.
The trio allegedly conspired to recruit foreign workers for US work visas while concealing the workers' true job titles and responsibilities.
Sunil Philip, 57, who was an outside accountant for the Savani Group, allegedly engaged in a wire fraud scheme to evade federal taxes along with the three brothers.
The Savani brothers, along with two other employees of Savani Group, allegedly executed a scheme to use nominee owners of "on paper" dental practices to obtain and continue to profit from Medicaid contracts after managed care companies terminated the Savani Group dental practices' Pennsylvania Medicaid contracts.
They also allegedly conspired to place adulterated and misbranded dental devices in US commerce, according to the DOJ.
Vivek Savani, 35, Bharatkumar Parasana, 55, and Hiteshkumar Goyani, 39, and Piyusha Patel, 41, were employed under the H1-B visa program under the pretense of serving in specialty occupations for the Savani Group but actually performed office support roles for the Group's dental practices.
Bhaskar, Arun, Niranjan and Sunil Philip made their initial court appearances on January 20 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.