A Queens jury has found a Kings Point doctor guilty of running a kickback scheme in which he recommended unnecessary procedures for patients and defrauded Medicaid, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday.
The jury convicted Payam Toobian, 52, of grand larceny, health care fraud, four of eight counts charged for falsifying business records and two counts of violating the social services law prohibiting the payment of kickbacks.
In August, Toobian was charged by the attorney general’s office and indicted by a grand jury. Toobian ran America’s Imaging Center, according to the indictment. The corporation oversaw Long Island Radiology Associates and Empire Imaging of Forest Hills.
The indictment alleged that Toobian ran a kickback scheme from January 2006 to August 2017 where he gave gift cards and cash to two doctors in exchange for their referral of patients for radiology. Prosecutors said Toobian also told employees to add additional radiology procedures to referrals to increase the money paid by Medicaid.
“Empire Imaging received more than $1 million in paid claims relating to patient referrals from those physicians,” according to news release from James's office. He gave the three unnamed physicians gift cards, cash and checks totaling to more than $547,000, according to the release.
Information on an attorney for Toobian was not immediately available late Wednesday.
Additional tests included MRIs of the brain, cervical spine, and lumbar spine, James said, which required subjecting patients to unnecessary and invasive injections. The attorney general said Toobian then directed his staff to submit claims for payment to Medicaid for those unnecessary tests.
“All New Yorkers should be able to trust that their doctors are prioritizing their health, not simply using them to upcharge insurance companies,” James said in a statement. “For years, Payam Toobian subjected patients to unnecessary and often invasive tests in order to enrich himself. Today’s verdict will ensure he is held accountable for defrauding Medicaid and putting New Yorkers at risk. My office will continue to pursue any medical provider who attempts to profit at the expense of those in need of care.”
The investigation was led by detectives with the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Officials said if someone suspects Medicaid fraud, including abuse or neglect of nursing home residents, they can file a confidential complaint online at the attorney general’s website or by calling the hotline at 800-771-7755.