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Monday
Jun202011

Weight Loss Guru Wanted by Feds on Insurance Fraud Charges

Federal Bureau of Investigation(CHICAGO) -- A doctor who advertised his weight loss clinics on Chicago TV for nearly a decade has attracted more attention than he wanted. Dr. Gautam Gupta is being sought by the FBI on charges that he defrauded insurance companies and the government out of $25 million.

Gupta, 57, may have fled to India, the FBI said.

"We are looking into every possibility as to where he fled. India is a possibility, but that's why we're asking the public to help us track him down or get any information on his whereabouts," an FBI spokesman said.

Gupta owns up to five Nutrition Clinics in Illinois. A federal criminal complaint accuses Gupta of mail fraud, health care fraud, and conspiracy. He faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

The criminal complaint alleges that Gupta and members of his staff submitted claims to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Insurance Company and the Illinois Medicaid program for unnecessary procedures or procedures that were never even performed. During the period of June 2001 through January 2010, the Nutrition Clinic was paid almost $25 million for such claims.

"Several patients stated that ultrasound tests were conducted on them before they came into contact with a physician or physician assistant. There would, therefore, be no way for the physician or assistant to determine if this patient had a condition, or symptoms of a condition, which would indicate an ultrasound test of any kind was needed," stated the complaint.

The complaint stated that staff members at times did not consult physicians when handing out weight loss drugs such as Phentermine or diuretics saying that "patients were required to return to the clinic once a week or once every other week in order to obtain more Phentermine or other controlled substances. During these return visits, the patients would have their weight or blood pressure taken by various females dressed in medical scrubs and would not leave the room in order to obtain a physician's permission or authorization to prescribe and dispense the drug or to increase or decrease the dosage."

Calls by ABC News to several of Gupta's nutrition centers were all routed to the same person who repeatedly said, "No comment," and hung up.

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