A federal judge sentenced a south Mississippi oncologist Friday to the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison after her conviction in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme involving chemotherapy drugs.
Dr. Meera Sachdeva, 50, who founded the Rose Cancer Center in Summit in 2005, was also ordered to pay more than $8 million in restitution and a $250,000 fine. Additionally, Sachdeva will have to forfeit $6 million and four parcels of property.
Sachdeva pleaded guilty July 13 to one count of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements.
Prosecutors said Sachdeva allowed technicians at the cancer center to perform bone marrow biopsies, reuse syringes and use Chemotherapy treatments after their expiration date.
"It was impossible for us to determine, after the fact, whether any particular patient received an adequate amount of chemotherapy treatment, an inadequate amount, or an excessive amount," said Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Scott Gilbert.
Sachdeva also admitted to billing for more chemotherapy drugs than she purchased and not providing each patient with the fully prescribed dosage.
"The amount that she billed the Medicaid, Medicare, and the other private insurance was greater than what she actually purchased," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Gregory Davis.
Prosecutors the clinic was unsanitary for cancer patients, because several cancer sufferers were admitted to the hospital with infections. One doctor who testified in the trial said an infection was a contributing factor to the death of one patient.
"We just don't know and weren't able to determine, despite our best efforts, the exact causes of death of many of these patients," said Gilbert.
The judge said one reason for the maximum sentence was Sachdeva showed no serious remorse.
Brittany McCoskey, 26, the office manager at the cancer center, was sentenced to 13 months and ordered to pay more than $55,000 in restitution. She pleaded guilty May 17 to making false statements on claims. The U.S. Attorney's office says she prevented nurses from calling an ambulance for some patients at the clinic and even performed some medical procedures while employed as the office manager.
Monica Weeks, 40, was sentenced to three years probation, three years home confinement and restitution of $19,549. Weeks operated The Medical Billing Group in Madison that helped cover up fraud.
A number of the 50 former patients of the clinic, whose records have come in to question or were illegally changed, were in the courtroom. Several family members representing their deceased loved one were also in attendance.
"My sister meant a lot to my family because she had a hand in raising us. So, I'm hurt over that, but I have some closure to the fact that now I know some justice is done," said Rosetta Chairs.
Chairs mentally challenged sister received treatment at Rose Cancer Center and later died.
Earnest Whittington's wife died after being diagnosed with cancer. She also received treatment under the care of Sachdeva. He isn't sure if cancer treatments lead to her death but Whittington was happy with the outcome of the trial.
"I think considering what they had to go by, they did the best they could. I have nothing but high praise for them," explained Whittington.
Thursday, December 12 2013 11:13 AM EST2013-12-12 16:13:40 GMT
"I just ate cotton." Consuming large amounts of cotton is what some people are doing to lose weight. It's called the cotton ball diet and it's extremely dangerous. There are hundreds of dietary supplementsMore >>
Consuming large amounts of cotton is what some people are doing to lose weight. It's called the cotton ball diet and it's extremely dangerous.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 9:44 PM EST2013-12-12 02:44:55 GMT
A 26 year old rape victim continues to fear for her life. Jessica Bowman sat down with the brave young woman who says although her perpetrator is behind bars, she still feels like a target. Brittany WashingtonMore >>
A 26-year-old rape victim continues to fear for her life. The young woman says although her perpetrator is behind bars, she still feels like a target.More >>
Thursday, December 12 2013 12:40 PM EST2013-12-12 17:40:08 GMT
(WFAA/KTVT/CNN) - A Texas teenager killed four people while driving drunk and his attorney chose an unusual defense to keep him out of prison. Ethan Couch got drunk then jumped behind the wheel of hisMore >>
A Texas teenager killed four people while driving drunk and his attorney chose an unusual defense to keep him out of prison.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 9:17 PM EST2013-12-12 02:17:49 GMT
Turning now to a MOST WANTED cold case murder. Leads have gone cold in the shooting death of Ricky saxton from yazoo city. They are hoping a $13,000 reward will help find the killer or killers. NovemberMore >>
Leads have gone cold in the shooting death of Ricky Saxton of Yazoo City. They are hoping a $13,000 reward will help find the killer or killers. More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 7:40 PM EST2013-12-12 00:40:21 GMT
Pearl Police are looking for a man who may have been involved in an auto burglary Sunday at Ryan's Steakhouse. The man in the attached pictures used a credit card taken in the burglary. If you have anyMore >>
Pearl Police are looking for a man who may have been involved in an auto burglary Sunday at Ryan's Steakhouse.More >>
The man accused of faking sign interpretation next to world leaders at Nelson Mandela's memorial told a local newspaper that he was hallucinating and hearing voices.More >>
The man accused of faking sign interpretation while standing alongside world leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela's memorial service said Thursday he hallucinated that angels were entering the...More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 10:03 PM EST2013-12-12 03:03:23 GMT
A Madison County Grand Jury has indicted two people in connection with the Canton city elections, back in May. Executive committee member Kimberly Readus faces one count of corrupt conduct by an electionMore >>
A Madison County Grand Jury has indicted two people in connection with the Canton city elections, back in May. More >>
Thursday, December 12 2013 11:43 AM EST2013-12-12 16:43:28 GMT
Salvation Army Captain Ken Chapman is taking bell ringing to new heights. Chapman is kicking off the Salvation Army's "What are you willing to do for someone in need" campaign about 50 feet above groundMore >>
Salvation Army Captain Ken Chapman is kicking off the "What are you willing to do for someone in need" campaign about 50 feet above ground...More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201