Westchester eye doc facing lengthy prison term

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WHITE PLAINS – US Attorney Audrey Strauss has announced that Ophthalmologist Ameet Goyal pled guilty on Tuesday to perpetrating a seven-year healthcare fraud scheme by falsely billing for millions of dollars for procedures he did not perform.  Goyal also fraudulently obtained two government-guaranteed loans intended to help small businesses during the pandemic, while facing charges on pretrial release for the billing scheme.

The 58-year-old Goyal is an ophthalmologist with a practice in Rye, Westchester County, the same town he lives in.  Strauss said “Dr. Ameet Goyal was an experienced eye doctor who became blinded by greed and routinely defrauded patients who trusted him to heal their eyes.  He grossly overbilled minor ophthalmological procedures, billed for tests and procedures that were never performed, falsified medical records, attempted to corrupt others in his practice to abet the scheme, and sent patients who refused to pay his fraudulent charges to collections.”

The prosecutor said that Goyal was “Already facing charges for defrauding patients and insurers of millions of dollars, Goyal committed a new fraud in applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans on behalf of two separate businesses and lying on the applications.  Goyal looted over $630,000 in federal funds earmarked for legitimate small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Goyal has now admitted to both fraudulent schemes, agreed to forfeit $3.6 million, and faces the possibility of a significant term of incarceration.”

On November 21, 2019, an indictment charged Goyal with healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements relating to healthcare matters.  He was arraigned the next day and placed on pretrial release pursuant to an order that notified Goyal of the potential effect of committing a criminal offense while on pretrial release.

In or about April 2020, Goyal applied to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Bank-1, a federally insured institution, for over $630,000 in Government-guaranteed loans through the SBA’s PPP Program.  Specifically, on or about April 21, 2020, Goyal applied for a loan in the amount of $358,700 for the business “Ameet Goyal,” with his own social security number and email address.  On or about April 29, 2020, he applied for a second loan in the amount of $278,500, with a business name “Rye eye associates,” using the Employer Identification Number for Ameet Goyal M.D. P.C and a different email address he controlled.  To substantiate each loan, however, he submitted the exact same underlying payroll expense report, showing the same employees and payroll costs.

On both applications, Goyal falsely answered that he was not facing any pending criminal charges, and electronically placed his initials “AG” directly under his “No” response.  GOYAL also falsely certified, among other things, that his business would not receive another PPP loan until the end of the year.

Goyal pled guilty to all six counts in the indictment.  The first count charged healthcare fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; the second count charged wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and the third count charged making false statements relating to health care matters, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  Counts four, five, and six charged that while on pretrial release, the defendant committed the following offenses, respectively: bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; making false statements on a loan application, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and making false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  Additionally, a conviction under counts four, five, and six, if committed while on pretrial release, provides for an additional maximum sentence of 10 years in prison consecutive to any other sentence of imprisonment.