Physicians under arrest: 5 criminal cases in 2 weeks

Here are five physicians who have been arrested or charged with crimes, pleaded guilty or been sentenced recently, as reported by Becker's since Feb. 23:

1. Thomas Webster, MD, pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks in a telemarketing and medical supply scheme throughout Washington that defrauded Medicare and Tricare of more than $13.7 million. He also admitted to receiving at least $839,565 from Medicare and Tricare for fraudulent physician visits and exams. 

2. Omar Marar, MD, a colorectal surgeon, was arrested and is facing felony charges after authorities said he threatened to detonate a bomb at Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital in Saginaw, Mich., over a malfunctioning carbon dioxide tank during surgery.

3. Melissa Barrett, MD, of Baton Rouge, La., who owned and operated two urgent care clinics, was sentenced to 52 months in prison and fined $200,000 for tax evasion. She underreported her income and assets to the IRS to avoid paying approximately $1.6 million in income taxes.

4. Alexander Baldonado, MD, a New York City physician, was charged for allegedly receiving kickbacks from a laboratory representative and others in exchange for approving orders for tests billed to Medicare, defrauding the federal healthcare program of $20.7 million.

5. Nitesh Ratnakar, MD, a gastroenterologist in Wheeling, W.Va., was indicted on charges of tax fraud and obstructing justice after authorities said he failed to pay more than $2.4 million in payroll taxes.

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