Editor’s note: This story was updated to remove a reference to a federal grand jury. It was a federal jury.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A federal jury convicted an Austin-based medical director of engaging in a scheme that fraudulently billed patients.
Dr. Sekhar Rao, 51, who was the medical director of the ADAR Group, LLC., fraudulently authorized toxicology and genetic testing, including cancer genetic testing, for some TRICARE beneficiaries, according to court documents and evidence presented at trial.
Rao authorized the testing without seeing, speaking to or otherwise treating patients, and without incorporating the test results into ongoing treatment, according to a press release about his conviction. In some cases, the patients did not know what they were being tested for.
Some patients were even enticed to provide urine or saliva specimens in exchange for $50 gift cards, the release said. Evidence at trial demonstrated that Rao was paid in exchange for signing off on medically unnecessary and repetitive toxicology and genetic tests.
Rao was convicted of two counts of health care fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27, 2023 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each health care fraud count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.