Dr. Sharon Iglehart Charged in Connection with $158 Million Medicare Scam

Wife of retired Houston Rocket submitted false, fraudulent claims from 2005 to 2012, feds say.

By John Nova Lomax December 20, 2013

A federal indictment against Dr. Sharon Iglehart, a 56-year-old Houston psychiatrist and owner of her own Iglehart Wellness Center, was unsealed Tuesday. The document states that Iglehart committed one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud. 

Dr. Sharon Iglehart

According to the indictment, from 2005 until May of 2012, Iglehart allegedly participated in a scheme that defrauded Medicare of a total of $158 million. Iglehart allegedly submitted false and fraudulent claims for a form of intensive outpatient mental health treatment known as a "partial hospitalization program," or PHP, through Riverside General Hospital in Third Ward. The indictment alleges that the PHP services were either medically unnecessary of never provided.

This is the latest shoe to drop in a federal probe of Riverside that began last year and has since seen the arrests and/or indictments of Riverside CEO Earnest Gibson III, his son Earnest Gibson IV, Riverside administrator Mohammed Khan, and five other alleged co-conspirators who reportedly were paid $300 a head for each bogus patient they were able to enroll in the PHPs either at Riverside or its six satellite psychiatric clinics.

According to the indictments from last year, Medicare-eligible patients were enticed to enroll in Riverside's PHP programs through the goodies available in its on-site "country store": Kleenex, candy bars, radios and disposable cameras ranging in price from $2 to $30, according to a price sheet obtained by the Houston Chronicle last year. Whether or not they needed treatment was immaterial, the feds allege, and they claim that in many cases the actual procedures were never performed.

Former Rocket not charged with any crimes.

All told, Riverside swindled the government out of $46.2 million over the course of the scheme, the indictment claims.

Khan and one of the "recruiters" confessed to their roles in the scheme and are awaiting sentencing.

Iglehart has been married to 1980s-era Houston Rockets point guard Allen Leavell since Christmas Eve 2008. At times on the company's web site, the Iglehart Wellness Center is referred to as the Iglehart-Leavell Wellness Center, but Leavell's ownership stake, if any, is not known. He has not been charged with any crimes.

If convicted of all five charges against her, Iglehart could get 50 years in prison. 

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