PHILADELPHIA, PA-A Summerdale who posed as a chiropractor and a physical therapist and treated patients as part of an elaborate health-care fraud scheme was sentenced to six years in federal prison.
Tahib Smith Ali, 35, is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons as soon as he gets a report date, U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg said.
The judge also ordered Ali to make restitution of $287,972, which includes co-pays that Ali allegedly charged to 86 patients.
Ali, who was not licensed and had no medical training, purchased the Oasis Holistic Healing Village, on 17th Street near Spruce, in December 2008 from Dr. Paul Bodhise, a licensed chiropractor who was retiring and moving to California.
Ali told Goldberg that he tried to recruit a chiropractor from Delaware but he couldn't get licensed here.
"I should have stopped then, but I wanted to make the business work," he said. "I was afraid of failure."
After the business began to slow and patients stopped coming, Ali started submitting claims for chiropractic treatments to Independence Blue Cross and other insurers using Bodhise's name and medical provider number.
"It was the dumbest thing I ever did," said Ali, who pleaded guilty in June to health-care fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Between January 2009 and April 2010, prosecutors said, Ali submitted bogus claims for $1.4 million and actually received payments of more than $280,000 from IBC and other insurers.
Defense attorney Christopher Hall said Ali was a "good man, a caring man" who had "started with good intentions" but "whose judgment was clouded by a desire to run a business."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Leahy painted a far darker portrait of Ali, who allegedly wore scrubs and white lab coats when he met with and examined patients.
She said Ali's "deceit had no bounds" and he had acted "without concern for [patients'] dignity, privacy and health."
The prosecutor said Ali had even performed muscle-stretching on a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was wheelchair-bound and unable to speak.
Soure: Philadelphia Daily News