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Physicians pay more than $1.5 million to government for kickback scheme

WHEELING, W.Va. – Four physicians from three states have settled with the United States government for their roles in a kickback scheme that included West Virginia physicians, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced recently.

Four physicians each agreed to a settlement with the United States Government after being accused of participating in a kickback scheme with Southwest Laboratories, Medscan Laboratory, sales representatives affiliated with Southwest and Medscan, and others, thereby causing false claims to be submitted to Medicare in violation of the Federal False Claims Act, the Physician Self-Referral law (“Stark”), and the Anti-Kickback Statute.

They are:

•    Dr. Thomas Baker, of Tennessee, who paid $484,481.80
•    Dr. Carolyn Kochert, of Indiana, who paid $129,682.84
•    Dr. Larry L. Zhou, of Kentucky, who paid $277,758.18
•    Dr. Julie Y. Chao, of Indiana, who paid $650,000

“We will continue to do our part to recover all proceeds of improper claims paid by the United States. Fraud and abuse will never be tolerated in this district, and we will continue to pursue those who have obtained taxpayer dollars by improper means,” said Powell.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan McGonigal litigated the cases on behalf of the government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Inspector General – Department of Health and Human Services investigated.

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