Massachusetts physicians charged with tax evasion and fraud

Pankaj Merchia, MD, and Shona Pendse, MD, were charged in a superseding indictment for tax evasion and fraud against the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Justice Department said Feb. 3.

Dr. Merchia and Dr. Pendse, both based in Brookline, Mass., received two counts of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy each to defraud the IRS. 

In December 2022, Dr. Merchia was indicted on one count of healthcare fraud and three counts of money laundering. 

Dr. Merchia and Dr. Pendse allegedly conspired to use a fake $30 million transaction in order to receive tax reductions and made false statements about the transaction to investigators. 

Both physicians received substantial income but avoided paying taxes, according to the Justice Department. 

Dr. Merchia also allegedly billed former patients' insurance for continuous positive airway pressure and bilevel positive airway pressure machine monthly rentals, years after the patients had returned the machines and left the practice. 

He is also alleged to have billed the insurance of a family member for a CPAP monthly rental for $400,000, knowing insurance would not cover the treatment by a family member. It is also alleged that Dr. Merchia used the profits in a $250,000 wire transfer and $140,000 in securities. 

Money laundering can rack up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the IRS can lead to a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

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