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African Surgeon Who Saved 50 Cent Pleads Guilty In $ Million Scam...

Mangele

Village Elder
#1
A heart surgeon who once saved the life of rapper 50 Cent is in hot water with the feds for performing thousands of unnecessary blood vessel procedures and bilking nearly $30 million from insurers, pleaded guilty to fraud last week.

Moses deGraft-Johnson, MD, a cardiovascular surgeon in Tallahassee, Florida, admitted to performing invasive and unnecessary angiography procedures, as well as falsely billing insurance companies for more than $29 million. He pleaded guilty to 56 counts of healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

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Starting as early as 2015, deGraft-Johnson performed two diagnostic angiographies -- one on each leg -- in hundreds of patients, whether these were medically indicated or not. He would subsequently bill insurers for atherectomies, a much different procedure involving removal of plaque. In some instances, he simply falsified patients' medical records to make claims on the procedures.

Ultimately, he falsely claimed to perform over 3,000 of these procedures to clear blockages in arteries from as many as 845 of his patients' legs, according to the DOJ release.

According to the agency, deGraft identified and exploited patients by forging relationships with churches, nursing homes, at least one hospital, and an outreach organization -- many of which were located in underserved and vulnerable communities.

The 46-year-old surgeon ran the Heart and Vascular Institute of North Florida, an outpatient catheterization center in Tallahassee that was shut down after FBI agents raided it in February. The DOJ said it is also "aggressively pursuing" deGraft's forfeitable assets in the U.S. and abroad, including luxury vehicles, jewelry, homes in New York, Miami, and Houston, as well as more than $1 million in cash.

deGraft-Johnson is a dual-citizen of the U.S. and Ghana, having immigrated to the U.S. from Africa when he was a child. He was allegedly planning to run for president of his native country. Media outlets reported that deGraft-Johnson wired $1.8 million to entities and associates within Ghana, although his lawyer said the money is being used to help the country's people.

The surgeon made headlines in 2000 when he saved 50 Cent's life after the rapper presented to his trauma center with multiple gunshot wounds.

deGraft-Johnson's sentencing trial will be held in April 2021. He is up for a maximum of 10 years in prison for each charge of fraud and conspiracy, a mandatory 2-year sentence for identity theft charges, and more than $250,000 in potential fines.

Federal officials stated that they will continue to uncover details about deGraft-Johnson's scheme so that patients can get appropriate care.

"The United States will continue to work to recover the ill-gotten gains of deGraft-Johnson's criminal behavior, to identify information that will help his victims correct their important medical records, and to identify how he gained access to his victims so we can make sure nothing like it ever happens again," said Lawrence Keefe, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, in a statement.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/public...AVIVQGWjTJk0MgNENaKFMo4GklLh5l_UumgM5TmFcBvLA
 

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