Catch of the Week: Virginia OB/GYN Sentenced to 59 Years in Prison for Performing Medically Unnecessary Procedures for More Than Ten Years
Healthcare fraudsters are typically motivated by greed. But in satisfying that greed, some fraudsters perform reprehensible acts that permanently affect the victims of the fraud, making even the penalty they receive pale in comparison.
This week we focus on the conviction of Javaid Perwaiz, an OB/GYN in Hampton Roads, Virginia, who was sentenced to 59 years in prison for performing medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures on women for over a decade.
A Decade of Fraud and Deception
During a period ranging at least from 2010 to 2019, Perwaiz caused nearly $21 million in losses to private and public health insurers by routinely performing hysterectomies, sterilizations, and other procedures on his patients. Perwaiz would lie to his patients by telling them that the surgeries were medically necessary because the patients had cancer or were at risk of developing cancer in order to convince them to agree. Perwaiz would then perform the surgeries as quickly as possible, typically within days of providing the false diagnosis.
The procedures performed by Perwaiz on his victims included irreversible hysterectomies, improper sterilizations, and other procedures that rendered many women unable to have children, despite not having the conditions Perwaiz mislead them to believe they had. Perwaiz also falsified forms for sterilizations by backdating them to comply with Medicaid’s 30-day waiting period.
Medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures can be permanently life-altering for the patients, especially in the OB/GYN field. Medically unnecessary procedures not only reduce patient autonomy in making healthcare decisions but also waste healthcare funding.
Once Perwaiz’s conduct was discovered and investigated, charges were brought, and victims began to come forward. More than 25 former patients testified at trial and the court received over 60 victim impact statements regarding Perwaiz’s acts. In addition, many of the nurses at Perwaiz’s practice detailed at trial how they routinely complained to their supervisors about Perwaiz but were ignored.
Back in November 2020, Perwaiz was convicted by a jury of 52 counts of healthcare fraud and false statements. The fraud totaled nearly $21 million in fraudulent billing. The Attorney General of Virginia Mark Herring commented: “This individual not only defrauded our healthcare system out of millions of dollars, he did so by performing unnecessary surgeries on women and putting their health and safety at risk. Doctors should never take advantage of the trust that their patients put in them, and those who do should be held accountable.”
This trial and conviction show the power of people coming forward to bring to light the horrible acts of fraud and deception committed by others. The victims who testified at trial and provided statements showed immeasurable strength in the face of permanent damage and suffering to bring justice to all victims of Perwaiz’s crimes. The nurses who were ignored when they complained to their supervisors demonstrate the resistance whistleblowers and others seeking justice face when combatting improper actions. Whistleblowers are routinely ignored, ostracized, and retaliated against, but they are critical to continue bringing justice to fraudsters and protecting victims across the globe. Whistleblowers will continue to play a key role in protecting federal health programs from fraud and protecting patients from physicians who may not have the patient’s best interests at heart.
If you have information or would like to speak to a member of the Constantine Cannon whistleblower lawyer team, please contact us for a confidential consultation.
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Tagged in: Catch of the Week, Criminal Proceedings, Falsifying Invoices, Healthcare Fraud, Improper Medical Facility, Lack of Medical Necessity, Medicaid, Medical Billing Fraud, Risk Adjustment Fraud,