Houston, Texas - A Houston-area physician and anesthesiologist at two registered pain clinics, Texas Pain Solutions and Integra Medical Clinic, was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for his role in fraudulently billing health care programs for at least $5 million dollars in medical tests and procedures, and for the role his fraud played in multiple patient deaths.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas, Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Houston Division, and Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office made the announcement.
Rezik Saqer, 66, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas. Chief Judge Rosnethal also ordered the defendant to pay $5 million in restitution. Saqer pleaded guilty on July 3, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to the evidence presented at sentencing, Saqer’s health care fraud scheme involved luring vulnerable patients to his clinics by prescribing powerful opioid narcotics, and then requiring the patients to submit to unnecessary and dangerous procedures and tests, which were often performed by Saqer’s unlicensed staff and fraudulently billed to health care providers. Saqer’s scheme contributed to multiple overdose deaths, as well as the death of a young family in an auto accident involving one of Saqer’s patients, according to the evidence.
According to the court’s judgment, Saqer was responsible for fraudulently billing health care providers for at least $5 million.
This case was investigated by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, DEA, and FBI. Trial Attorneys Andrew Pennebaker and Devon Helfmeyer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tina Ansari of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.