October 24, 2020

Mississippi doctor among two who admit guilt in $5M health care fraud case

Two doctors have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud.
U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, in a news release, said 37-year-old Dr. Shahjahan Sultan, of Madison, Mississippi, and 56-year-old Dr. Thomas Edward Sturdavant, of Kingsport, Tennessee, entered their pleas Thursday before Senior U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett of Hattiesburg.

Hurst says Sultan contracted with a pharmacy in Jackson County in May 2014, agreeing to prescribe expensive compound medications in exchange for 35% of the reimbursements the pharmacy received for the prescriptions.

He met with patients over telemedicine video-chat sessions but didn’t perform thorough exams or determine the necessity of the prescribed medications. He hired Sturdavant in September 2014 to do similar duties and agreed to pay him $900,000 annually to perform telemedicine services and to prescribe the compounded medications dispensed by the pharmacy.

From May 2014 through October 2014, health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, reimbursed the pharmacy more than $5,000,000 based on claims submitted by the pharmacy in connection with the expensive compounded medications ordered by Sultan and Sturdavant.

Sultan and Sturdavant each face up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is Feb. 26.