September sentencing awaits pair convicted of Medicare fraud

15 already pleaded guilty in massive scheme

A Baton Rouge woman who owned and operated a local psychiatric clinic and a Houston man who recruited patients for a related facility in Texas are awaiting a September sentencing in federal court following their convictions on conspiracy and other charges in a $258 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Roslyn F. Dogan, 53, and James R. Hunter, 49, were found guilty Wednesday after a six-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge.

Fifteen people, including Baton Rouge psychiatrist Zahid Imran, already had pleaded guilty in the massive scheme. Imran pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and is to be sentenced Aug. 28.

Dogan was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and two counts of health care fraud. Hunter was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks. Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson will sentence the pair Sept. 19.

Federal prosecutors said the three facilities involved in the scheme — Shifa Community Mental Health Center of Baton Rouge on Goya Avenue and Serenity Center of Baton Rouge on Lobdell Boulevard, and Shifa Community Mental Health Center of Texas in Houston — filed fraudulent claims for psychiatric services that were unnecessary or never actually provided.

The seven-year scheme involved the busing of hundreds of people into Baton Rouge from Memphis, Tennessee, and other locations to attend therapy sessions at the Shifa and Serenity centers. The patients were rounded up from homeless shelters, nursing homes and other facilities, prosecutors have said.

The clinics took advantage of the elderly, drug addicts and chronically mentally ill persons by providing them with no services, inadequate services and clinically inappropriate services, according to prosecutors.

“These significant convictions are the latest example of our ongoing commitment to rooting out health care fraud throughout our community,” U.S. Attorney Walt Green said of Dogan’s and Hunter’s convictions.

“We will use all of the tools and resources at our disposal to prosecute those who submit false information and false claims to Medicare — especially where, as in this case, those claims cost the United States tens of millions of dollars and were filed using the names and identities of Medicare beneficiaries who are particularly vulnerable,” Green added.

Imran, 56, was medical director of Shifa’s Baton Rouge clinic and co-owned and operated Serenity. He also co-owned the Shifa facility in Houston.

Dogan was a part owner of Serenity as well as the marketer for Serenity and Shifa Baton Rouge. Prosecutors said Hunter was Medicare patient recruiter for Shifa Texas.

Dogan concealed the fraud at Shifa Baton Rouge and Serenity by directing that patient billing statements be intercepted from patients’ mail in order to prevent the patients from seeing the services that had been billed in their names, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the investigation is ongoing.