Dr. Joni Canby Pleads Guilty to Bribe Scheme | News, Sports, Jobs

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YOUNGSTOWN – Dr Joni Canby, 62, of Poland, on Wednesday became the second of three doctors in the region to plead guilty in a United States district court to receiving bribes in connection with a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.

Canby pleaded guilty to conspiring to solicit, receive, offer and pay bribes under a federal health care program and to receive bribes under a federal health care program.

The case was referred to the US Department of Pre-Trial and Probation for preparation of a pre-sentence report on his background. She will be sentenced at 1 p.m. on March 17 before Judge J. Philip Calabrese in Cleveland, who also accepted her guilty plea on Wednesday. She was released on a personal engagement, and that link was maintained on Wednesday.

Family medicine practitioner Dr. Michelle Kapon, 42, of Youngstown, was the first of three to plead guilty in the case. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to solicit, receive, offer and pay bribes under a federal health care program and to two counts of receiving bribes under a federal health care program. Kapon pleaded guilty in February.

The latest doctor charged is Samir Wahib, 53, of Canfield. Wahib and Canby are gynecologists and obstetricians.

Federal prosecutors said doctors had tried to get reimbursement for tests that were not medically necessary.

Wahib is also charged with obstructing a criminal investigation into federal health care offenses, as well as four additional counts of paying bribes under a federal health care program. health.

Wahib is accused of conspiring, from March 2014 to January 2017, to bribe Canby and Kapon to induce them to order Wahib to test for gonorrhea and chlamydia on samples of patients from Canby and Kapon.

Wahib then allegedly billed and paid by the federal government for the tests.

“These defendants are doctors accused of orchestrating a scheme to defraud a taxpayer-funded health care benefits program created to help vulnerable populations,” said Bridget Brennan, acting U.S. lawyer for the Northern District of Ohio, at the time the indictments were released.

“Their alleged conduct… was designed specifically to enrich themselves. “

“Paying bribes is a corrupt and illegal practice that inappropriately influences the ability of an individual or entity to make impartial decisions, which is of particular concern in the healthcare environment “said Lamont Pugh III, special agent in charge of the Chicago area office. of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.

“Bribes can lead to overuse of diagnostic tests and other services, which ultimately increases program costs, wastes taxpayer dollars, and can expose patients to medically services. unnecessary.

“Subjecting patients to unnecessary testing is bad medicine,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a press release.

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