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Federal complaints have been filed against 30 Bay Area defendants, including the largest home health care agency, in a patients-for-cash kickback scheme.

The unsealed criminal complaints describe a wide-ranging patients-for-kickback scheme. At the center of the scheme are Amity Home Health Care, the largest home health care provider in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Advent Care, Inc., a provider of hospice care.

According to the complaints, all the defendants participated in the scheme whereby Amity, under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Ridhima “Amanda” Singh, paid kickbacks to marketers, doctors, and other medical professionals in exchange for the certification or referral of patients for home health or hospice services.

Also charged are 28 people including doctors, nurses, marketers, a social worker, and additional employees of Amity. According to the complaints, every single defendant charged was recorded by law enforcement officers either offering or accepting, or approving illegal payments for patient referrals.

Title 42, United States Code, Section 1320a-7b, makes it a crime for any person to knowingly solicit, offer, or pay a kickback, bribe, or rebate for furnishing services under a Federal health care program. Because many of the patients were insured by Medicare, a taxpayer-funded insurance plan, the referral of patients through the kickback scheme violated the statute.

The criminal complaints describe how Amity and some of its employees bribed individuals associated with hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and doctors’ offices to induce those individuals to send patients to Amity and Advent. Amity and the other defendants often disguised the kickbacks as payroll, phony medical directorships, and, at other times, as “entertainment,” reimbursements,” “gifts”, or “donations.”

Further, several of the defendants are doctors and other health care professionals who allegedly received bribes in exchange for making referrals to Amity and Advent and other home health agencies so that the companies could provide and bill for services. In the case of Amity, Singh and her employees allegedly compensated these professionals in cash for each patient referral and for making introductions to physicians, case managers, or other health care professionals who could refer patients.

In addition, some of the defendants are described as “marketers.” Marketers received from Amity and others cash and gifts, such as tickets to Warriors games, in exchange for patient referrals. Marketers had clients that consisted of case managers at hospitals, social workers at skilled nursing facilities, doctors, and office staff at doctors’ offices. Singh allegedly instructed marketers to take clients out to elaborate meals, sporting events, and purchase gifts for individuals willing to provide Amity with patients, mainly Medicare patients. When patient referrals were slow, Singh allegedly directed the marketer to incentivize clients with gifts in an effort to induce them to refer more patients to Amity.

The names and identification information on the specific individuals involved are listed on the Justice Department Website announcement.