Two Youngstown Doctors Charged with Fraud in Kickback Scheme

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Two local doctors, Samir Wahib and Joni Canby, have been indicted by a grand jury for their roles in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

Also named in the indictment is Michelle Kapon, who was charged in a separate bill of information. 

Wahib and Canby were doctors of osteopathic medicine and obstetrics/gynecological specialists, while Kapon was a doctor of medicine. All three were licensed in Ohio and practiced in the Youngstown area.

Wahib faces a combined 11 counts of conspiracy to solicit, receive, offer and pay kickbacks in connection with a federal health-care program; offering or paying kickbacks in connection with a federal health-care program, conspiracy to commit health fraud; health-care fraud; and obstruction of a criminal investigation of federal health-care offenses.

Canby faces 10 counts of conspiracy to solicit, receive, offer and pay kickbacks in connection with a federal health-care program; receiving kickbacks in connection with a federal health-care program; conspiracy to commit health fraud; and health-care fraud.

“These defendants are physicians accused of orchestrating a scheme to defraud a taxpayer funded health-care benefit program created to assist vulnerable populations,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan, in a statement. “Their alleged conduct, which included kickbacks and medically unnecessary testing, was designed specifically to enrich themselves.”

Added Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost: “Subjecting patients to unnecessary tests is bad medicine. Stealing from taxpayer-funded health care while doing so is criminal, and that’s when we, and our federal law enforcement partners, come in.”

According to the indictment, Wahib paid kickbacks to Canby and Kapon between March 2014 and January 2017 so they would order gonorrhea and chlamydia testing performed by Wahib. In some cases, the testing was medically unnecessary.

The indictment alleges Wahib paid Canby and Kapon for each test sent to him. He would then submit Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement claims.

According to the federal indictment, Wahib paid Canby and Kapon through his business checking account and attempted to disguise them as “physician coverage” on the memo line of checks.

The indictment also states an employee and relative of Wahib, working on his behalf, provided Canby and Kapon with supplies to collect and retrieve the specimens. The employee would also retrieve the specimens from Canby’s and Kapon’s offices and perform testing of the specimens on a specialized machine at Wahib’s  office.

Wahib also allegedly provided Kapon, who was not an OBGYN specialist, with in-kind compensation by way of supervision of her OBGYN patients at a Youngstown-area hospital.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.