Madison doctor sentenced for conspiracy to commit health care fraud

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A Madison doctor was sentenced on Tuesday by Senior U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett to 48 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Dr. Shahjahan Sultan, M.D., pled guilty in November 2019 for conspiring to commit health care fraud. Judge Starrett also ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $4,102,634.65 to Express Scripts (TRICARE), $582,280.79 to CVS Caremark and $115,611.03 to Catamaran. The court further imposed a money judgement of more than $2.3 million.

U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said Sultan entered into a contract with a pharmacy located in Jackson County in May 2014. He agreed to prescribe individuals expensive compound medications in exchange for the pharmacy agreeing to pay Sultan 35% of the reimbursements it received for the prescriptions Sultan authorized. 

Health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, were billed for the compounded medications.  Sultan employed others who identified individuals in places like Jones County, who had insurance that covered the expensive compounded medications. 

Sultan met with the insured individuals over telemedicine video-chat sessions. According to Hurst, Sultan did not perform thorough examinations of the individuals during the sessions. He also did not determine the medical necessity of the compounded medications he prescribed.

From May 2014 through January 2015, Sultan and his co-conspirators prescribed millions of dollars of unnecessary compounded medications to patients.

Thomas Edward Sturdavant, M.D., 56, of Kingsport, Tennessee, Freda Cal Covington, R.N., 54, of Hattiesburg and Fallon Deneem Page, R.N., 36, of Soso were all indicted along with Dr. Sultan in June 2019. 

Dr. Sturdavant will be sentenced Monday, June 22, 2020. Nurse Freda Cal Covington is set for sentencing on June 24, 2020, and Nurse Fallon Page will be sentenced on July 7, 2020.

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