A federal grand jury returned a 10-count indictment against a Greater Cincinnati spine doctor, “alleging that, beginning in 2009, he convinced patients to undergo medically unnecessary spinal surgeries,” then billed health care programs millions of dollars, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The indictment, issued Wednesday, charges Abubakar Atiq Durrani, 44, of Mason, with five counts of health care fraud and five counts of making false statements in health care matters.
Durrani, who owns a private practice called the Center for Advanced Spine Technologies with offices in Evendale and Florence, previously told the Enquirer he would fight criminal and civil allegations against him.
Federal agents arrested Durrani last month at his Reading Road office on a complaint, which led to the indictment. In addition to the criminal charges, Durrani faces more than 150 civil lawsuits filed on behalf of former patients.
Federal authorities allege that Durrani “made false statements to patients, colleagues and hospitals in order to further his scheme,” the federal news release said.
Durrani allegedly would tell patients that they urgently needed back surgery and risked grave injuries without it, the release said. Durrani even allegedly asserted “there was a risk of paralysis or the head would fall off if the patient was in a car accident because there was almost nothing attaching the head to the patient’s body,” the federal news release said.
Health care fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The crime of making false statements in health care matters is punishable by up to five years in prison. Authorities also seek forfeiture of “any proceeds Durrani received as a result of the scheme,” the release said.