Greenwich doctor spent PPP loans on country club and vineyard after being charged in $3.6million scheme

A Greenwich eye doctor has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison, after prosecutors say he falsely billed patients for more intensive and expensive procedures than he actually performed, earning at least $3.6 million dollars, and fraudulently obtained two COVID business relief loans.

Ameet Goyal, 58, of Rye, NY, also faces five years of probation upon release from prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in a statement.

Goyal was charged over the health care costs in November 2019, but after being released on bail, prosecutors say he fraudulently obtained two loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, from the federal money intended to help businesses pay their employees during the early days of the pandemic. Instead, investigators allege Goyal put the money — some $637,200 — into paying for a Westchester country club and a California vineyard.

US Attorney Damian Williams said Goyal was a prominent eye doctor and oculoplastic surgeon and had given up his medical license. He claimed Goyal was “blinded by greed”.

“Over a period of seven years, he took advantage of the trust placed in him and deceived patients and insurance companies out of $3.6 million in false accusations,” Williams said in a statement. “To cover his tracks, he created fictitious operative reports, strewn across hundreds of patient records, violating the integrity of patients’ medical records and making it more difficult for subsequent physicians to assess their care. He sent patients who couldn’t pay the coded bills to a collection agency, decimating their credit.

Goyal was ordered to pay $3.6 million in restitution, as well as $3.6 million in forfeiture, Williams’ office said.

He pleaded guilty to an indictment, charging him with healthcare fraud, wire fraud and healthcare-related misrepresentation for the allegations of coding medical procedures. He also pleaded guilty to bank fraud, misrepresentation on a loan application, and “misrepresentation in a matter within the executive jurisdiction of the United States government” in connection with PPP loans, the official said. Williams office.

Goyal’s firm, Rye Eye Associates, had offices in Greenwich and New York in Rye, Mt. Kisco and Wappingers Falls.

Investigators alleged that between 2010 and 2017, Goyal ‘constantly’ replaced lower-cost surgical procedures and exams with more complex, higher-paying ones in bills he submitted to Medicare, insurance companies and to patients.

Authorities say he also pressured other employees in his firm to accept the program. They also claim that he “systematically falsified patients’ medical records, writing fictitious operative reports that corresponded to the complex operation he billed for rather than the various minor procedures he actually performed,” said Williams’ office in a statement.

The higher charges “resulted in patients paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for fraudulently billed charges and initiating debt collection proceedings against patients who failed to pay the full amount of these false charges,” says the press release.

After his arraignment and release on bail, Goyal applied for PPP loans from a bank and the Small Business Administration for $358,700 and $278,500, prosecutors said. They allege Goyal submitted the same report for each loan and claimed to have no pending criminal charges against him at the time of the loan applications.

“Goyal used the company checking account into which these funds were deposited to pay for business and personal expenses, including making a payment to a country club in Westchester, New York within days of receiving the first loan, as well than payments to a California vineyard. and golf merchandise website,” the statement read.

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