Washington: An Indian-American doctor has been sentenced to 18 months in prison by a US court for healthcare fraud and illegally prescribing controlled substance medications.

Chicago-based Satish Narayanappa Babu was sentenced yesterday after he pleaded guilty last September to illegally prescribing oxycodone and other controlled substances and fraudulently billing Medicare approximately USD 500,000, and fraudulently collecting approximately USD 216,000, for services he did not provide.

US District Court Judge John Tharp also imposed a term of three years of supervised release and a restitution amount of USD 221,012.

"This crime wasn't an isolated act, it was a calculated, systematic effort to milk Medicare," said Tharp while imposing sentence.

Babu was stealing money from those in need... Putting many in need at risk, he said. Babu agreed to forfeit the approximately USD 126,000, which was seized at the time of his arrest and will be credited toward the restitution ordered.

Three cars - a 2013 BMW, a 2001 BMW, and 2010 Lexus –were also forfeited. Babu was ordered to begin serving his sentence on May 13. His medical license has also been suspended.

Babu admitted that he engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare from November 2011 to February 2014. He also admitted that between November 2012 and December 2013, he issued multiple prescriptions for controlled substances to a patient, who was actually an undercover agent, despite never having seen or examined the patient.

He also permitted unlicensed personnel associated with his Anik Life Sciences Medical Corp to issue prescriptions to the patient.

During the same period, Babu submitted false claims to Medicare for services provided to the patient that were not rendered by Babu or another licensed medical professional, the Justice Department said.