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

Published 9:32 pm Thursday, November 21, 2019

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.

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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.