Dr. Jahani jailed, Dr. Peper at large
A former western Colorado physician is in federal custody and a second is expected to be arrested in connection with a scheme that federal prosecutors allege was intended to defraud federal and private health care plans and ended up costing four patients their lives.
Dr. Sam Jahani, now living in Cleveland, Texas, and Dr. Eric Peper, 53 of Summerland Key, Fla., were indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 3. Jahani was arrested today by federal agents. Peper remains at large.
The indictment alleges that Jahani and Peper, as part of a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid and private health care plans, prescribed pain killer to patients knowing that the patients already were addicted to them or would become addicted.
Four patients died as a result, the indictment says. The indictment identifies the victims only by their initials.
Jahani operated Urgent Care, Inc. which he formed in November 2005 and conducted business at 164 W. 3rd Street in Delta; 2305 S. Townsend Ave. Unit B, in Montrose and at 517 N.1st Street in Grand Junction. Peper was an employee of Jahani, and worked at the Delta and Grand Junction offices.
“We count on medical doctors to use their training, skill and judgment to provide the best possible care for their patients,” U.S. Attorney John Walsh said. “Our medical system requires doctors to properly bill health care benefit programs, and when they don’t, they can face criminal consequences. Also, when, as in this case, doctors neglect their responsibilities and abuse the authority they are given to prescribe medications in order to make money while risking the health of their patients, we will act to protect the public with aggressive prosecution efforts.”
Jahani faces life in federal prison, for each of the three counts of health care fraud resulting in death and up to 10 years in prison for two counts of health care fraud. Peper faces life imprisonment for one count of health care fraud resulting in death.
Federal officials will ask judges in the districts in which the physicians reside to transfer them to U.S. District Court in Denver.