Prosecutors: Wife of Baldwin doctor in painkiller probe charged with tax fraud
The wife of a Baldwin doctor charged with illegally prescribing thousands of painkillers in exchange for $1.4 million in cash has been charged in connection with her husband's case, prosecutors said.
Bibi Shazeeda Persaud, 42, is charged with criminal tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. She faces up to 4 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors said she filed false tax records for 2011 along with her husband, Dr. Anand Persaud, 45, who improperly issued thousands of prescriptions for oxycodone and other drugs in exchange for cash payments in 2011 and 2012.
Both pleaded not guilty Thursday in Nassau County Court to charges leveled in a new indictment.
Bibi Persaud was released without bail and ordered to surrender her passport. Her husband remains jailed on $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash bail, records show.
"For a doctor, a trusted licensed professional, to violate his professional duties and use his position to traffic in narcotics is unconscionable," state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement. "That he and his wife also failed to report their total income is also a crime. My office will seek to keep New York patients safe from rogue doctors and protect our tax dollars."
Anand Persaud was first arrested in July 2013 on charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance following a 13-month investigation by the attorney general's office. It was then that Schneiderman called Persaud one of the state's top prescribers of pain pills.
The new indictment against the doctor includes additional charges of grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, scheme to defraud and offering a false instrument.
He faces a maximum of 5 ½ years in prison if convicted.
Persaud's corporation is also charged with grand larceny, scheme to defraud and offering a false instrument for filing.
"All these charges are baseless," said Anand Persaud's lawyer, Thomas Lavallee, of Hauppauge.
Prosecutors said Persaud, an internist, wrote the prescriptions for oxycodone and other powerful painkillers during at least 5,800 patient visits. He also sold prescriptions for oxycodone to undercover agents posing as patients without examining or questioning them, prosecutors said.
Authorities said Persaud charged patients with legitimate medical issues $110 per office visit, hiking the price to $250 or more for pain pill users and addicts. His overprescribing caused several patients to become addicted to pain pills and fueled opioid addictions in others, prosecutors said.
His practice only accepted cash, which ended up costing the state hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary reimbursements because Medicaid recipients would later bill the state for their care, authorities said.