The owner of an X-ray company has been accused of bilking over $7.5 million from government health care agencies. Rafael Chikvashvili, the 67-year-old owner of Alpha Diagnostics, allegedly overbilled Medicare and Medicaid by submitting false claims for services that were not performed by licensed doctors, among other illegal activities.
According to a federal indictment unsealed today, Chikvashvili had employees who were not licensed physicians interpret X-rays, cardiology exams, ultrasounds and other medical tests instead of paying a licensed physician to provide those services. Chikvashvili also directed those under his employment to create fake doctor examination reports and forge doctor signatures. If a report was questioned, Chikvashvili would use a licensed physician to interpret the medical test without explaining that his company had already provided the service.
In addition to these allegations, Chikvashvili and Alpha Diagnostics have been accused of exaggerating work performed by technicians in claims for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, as well as overcharging for transportation costs, performing unnecessary services and lying about a physician supervising the company. Chikvashvili, who holds a doctorate in mathematics, allegedly had employees lie to make people believe he was a medical doctor.
If Chikvashvili is convicted, he could face a 10-year prison sentence for health care fraud, as well as five years for each count of making false statements and a mandatory two years for two counts of aggravated identity theft. The government is also seeking $7.5 million in forfeited assets, according to the Baltimore Sun.