November 27, 2014


Westlake cardiologist accused of $7.2 million medical fraud

CLEVELAND (AP) –€” A cardiologist referred patients for cardiac bypass surgery they didn’t need so he could be paid for follow-up visits, federal authorities said Thursday.

Dr. Harold Persaud, of suburban Westlake, was indicted in federal court on charges of health care fraud, making false statements and money laundering. FBI agents raided his offices in late October 2012 and seized patient files and other records. The overbilling scheme occurred between February 2006 and June 2012, authorities said.

Persaud, 55, pleaded not guilty to all 16 counts on Thursday and was released on bond. His attorney said he denies the allegations.

“Dr. Persaud is an excellent cardiologist who gave quality care to his patients for more than 25 years,” attorney Henry J. Hilow said.

A spokesman from the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland said Persaud is accused of overbilling Medicaid and health insurance companies $7.2 million, which resulted in payments of $1.5 million.

Besides the unnecessary bypass referrals, Persaud is accused of performing unnecessary heart catheterizations and stent insertions and then falsely recording the percentage of blockage in patients’ heart vessels. He’s accused of placing a stent in an artery of one patient who had a functioning bypass, endangering the patient’s life.

FBI agent in charge Stephen Anthony said in a statement that Persaud violated the “sacred trust” between physician and patient.

“He ripped off taxpayers and put patients’ lives at risk,” Anthony said.

Authorities hope to seize $343,000 from accounts held by Persaud and his wife. The indictment accuses Persaud of transferring $250,000 from his business bank account into a certificate of deposit in his wife’s name at another bank.

  • Bill Love

    Now we know why health care is so expensive they turned it into a business and very unpersonal.its all about move them in and get them out

    • Joe Smith

      It was always a business

      • Bill Love

        But when I was younger we had one doctor and he knew the whole family.and it was personal care now its more like take a number and are luck we fit you in

        • Joe Smith

          You are mostly right but my doc knows my entire family but he also has been our doc for 35 years

  • Otter

    So aside from stealing, this dip wad put peoples lives at risk, and who knows what kind of complications they may have in the future…how about some justice for them?

    • Ruby Thomas Kloss

      Otter you are so right….it took me 54 years to meet the right husband….Persaud almost killed him…I hope he rots in prison. His living high life is o v e r, get ready for a prison cot, no privacy, and bad food.

  • shadow

    He will be back to work in no time. Bet on it. Medicare for our elderly would be solvent forever if the 1% would stop ripping it off.

  • Scout

    Yep, and they wonder why insurance is so expensive? This doc, if found guilty, needs to go to jail. This is stealing plain and simple. Everyone is hurt by this fraud- all healthcare goes up because someone has to make up the difference.

  • princess lou

    This is sickening they should make him and his wife go through the same surgery they made other people get and then send them off to prison .

  • Guest

    How does the FBI determine that the doc’s recommendations were fraudulent?
    He did not .recommend cardiac bypass surgery to me

  • Jamie Smith

    Dr. Persaud was at one time the best cardiologist on the west side and I’m sure still would be without these accusations. He was my Mother’s doctor for many years. I hardly believe these charges are true. His patients health and welfare were his first and foremost concern. He was wonderful at returning calls himself to us. Maybe he was too good and medicare didn’t like the money they had to pay out to save lives. He had so many patients he didn’t have to rip anybody off for more money.

  • mdr12372

    If he referred patients, wouldn’t the physician doing the procedure also double check before procedure was done? For example, by doing an echo or MRI to locate the problem. I find it strange that two doctors would recommend an unnecessary procedure.

  • jz

    This is not directly related to the above story, but, it speaks to the topic of health care and the expenses in our country. A few weeks back I had to go to the emergency room at Avon EMH for a large cut on my right index finger. I couldn’t believe the 2 bills I got in the mail. $1,433.25 just for walking into the emergency room. Then a separate bill a few days later for $965.00 described on the bill as Repair Superficial Wound, which was 7 stitches and a splint. Total due by me after insurance paid their share? $158.78 and $335.31. Almost $500.00 for 7 stitches out of my pocket and almost $2,000.00 billed to the insurance company. All that for 7 stitches on a finger.

    • Otter

      Wow! I guess we got off easy, My husband had to go to a Mass. General hospital while we were on vacation. (tendon flair up) They did nothing, no, test, no exam, no shot, nothing. The Dr. wrote him a script, and sent us on our way. Total charges were $700.00. thankfully we only had to pay the $100.00 co-pay.

  • Ruby Thomas Kloss

    And I am the wife of JK and I am here to tell you that for YEARS I told my husband that Dr. Persaud was a quack and that he was going to kill him and that is just what almost happened. Every year Persaud insisted that my husband needed a catheterization because he might have blockage and every year it came back with NO blockage…I kept telling him that this procedure was unnecessary and all about the money. Finally the last time he performed this procedure my husband’s heart stopped and he had to shock it 3 times to get it going again. When Persaud came to the waiting room and told me what had happened I was furious and wanted to hit him because I new that he had put my husband’s life in jeopardy all because of MONEY….I hope he spends many years locked up in prison.