On December 17, 2014, a Houston psychiatrist was indicted for charges related to her arrest on December 16, 2013. She was allegedly participating in a $158 million Medicare fraud scheme involving false claims for mental health treatment.
Sharon Iglehart, 56, of Houston, was charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud. According to preliminary calculations, the United States Sentencing Guidelines call for a sentence that is more than twice the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison that can be imposed on each count. Without taking Dr. Iglehart’s role in the conspiracy into consideration, the guidelines call for a sentence in the range of 235-293 months.
According to the indictment, Iglehart is alleged to have participated in a scheme to defraud Medicare that started in 2005 and continued until May 2012. Iglehart is accused of having caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services to Medicare through Houston’s Riverside General Hospital. A PHP is a form of intensive outpatient treatment for severe mental illness.
The indictment alleges that Iglehart and her co-conspirators submitted or caused to be submitted approximately $158 million in claims to Medicare for PHP services purportedly provided by the hospital, when in fact the PHP services were medically unnecessary or never provided.
In February 2012, Mohammad Khan, an assistant administrator at the hospital who managed many of the hospital’s PHPs, was indicted for his role in the scheme. Khan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks, and five counts of paying illegal kickbacks. Khan has not yet been sentenced.
In October 2012, Earnest Gibson III, the administrator of the hospital, along with Earnest Gibson IV, William Bullock III, Robert Ferguson, Regina Askew, Leslie Clark and Robert Crane, were indicted for their roles in the scheme. Leslie Clark pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pay and receive illegal kickbacks. Clark has not yet been sentenced.
In January, Iglehart’s attorney has filed a motion seeking to have her case transferred to a different judge and joined with the case pending against her co-conspirators on the grounds that the facts and circumstances of the charges filed in both cases are the same.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Laura M.K. Cordova of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.