Second Valley doctor to change plea in Medicaid kickback investigation
A hearing has been scheduled in federal court for a Valley physician to change an earlier not guilty in a Medicaid fraud and kickback investigation that brought charges against two other doctors.
According to court documents, a November 10 change of plea hearing is set in U.S. District Court for Dr.Joni Canby, who was served earlier this year with a ten-count indictment on charges of Conspiracy to Solicit, Receive, Offer and Pay Kickbacks in Connection with a Federal Health Care Program, Receipt of Kickbacks in Connection with a Federal Health Care Program, Conspiracy to Commit Health Fraud, and Health Care Fraud.
Canby, as well as Doctor Michelle Kapon and OBGYN Samir Wahib, were all charged in January in connection with an alleged Medicare and Medicaid kickback scheme for testing that was not medically necessary.
Kapon has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to solicit, receive, offer, and pay kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program and two counts of receipt of kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program. Sentencing for Kapon is scheduled for February.
According to court documents, Kapon, of Youngstown, and OBGYN Canby, of Poland, received kickbacks from Wahib after sending samples from their patients to him for gonorrhea and chlamydia testing.
Investigators say that Wahib, f Canfield, paid $20 in kickbacks to Canby and $15 to Kapon for every specimen they sent to him. Wahib would, in turn, allegedly submit claims to the federal government for payment of the tests.
The government claims the payments were disguised as “physician coverage” on checks from Wahib’s business account.
Between 2014 and 2017, Wahib paid $31,520 to Kapon and Canby, while Wahib submitted 42 related claims to Medicare and Medicaid, according to investigators.
Wahib has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts, including Conspiracy to Solicit, Receive, Offer and Pay Kickbacks in Connection with a Federal Health Care Program, Offering or Paying Kickbacks in Connection with a Federal Health Care Program, Conspiracy to Commit Health Fraud, Health Care Fraud, and Obstruction of a Criminal Investigation of Federal Health Care Offenses.
According to Ohio Medical Board records, all three doctors still retain active licenses to practice medicine.