by Steven Ertelt
November 21, 2007
Frankfort, KY (LifeNews.com) — A Kentucky abortion practitioner has been jailed on charges that he wrongly billed the state for abortions he did at his private abortion center in Lexington. Hamid Hussain Sheikh was taken to the Franklin County Detention Center Tuesday, according to Corey Bellamy, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office.
The arrest came one week after state officials charged him with defrauding Medicaid. Sheikh is being held on a $100,000 bond.
Sheikh was indicted on four counts of billing Medicaid for abortions that he erroneously reported as ultrasounds in the billing records. He could face 20 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
A Franklin County grand jury said the abortion practitioner had engaged in the billing scheme since 2004, according to an Associated Press report. Each of the instances of false billing defrauded Medicaid by $300 or more.
According to Deputy Attorney General Pierce Whites, the abortion practitioner was trying to get around federal law that only allows reimbursements for abortions done in very rare situations.
"Medicaid has a series of regulations and protections in place so it does not pay for any abortion procedures except when the mother’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest," Whites told AP.
The state only pays for fewer than 10 abortions per year under federal rules that only allow the very limited abortion funding.
In addition to the billing fraud he is accused of perpetrating, Sheikh allegedly double billed for the abortions by accepting payments from customers and then billing the state as well.
State officials were tipped off to the scheme when they saw he was prescribing drugs commonly given to women following abortions and they were listed in the billing paperwork.
After they charged him with Medicaid fraud, investigators search his offices in Lexington and found the abortion facility as having "deplorable sanitary conditions." Officials will forward their findings to the Board of Medical Licensure for potential actions.
“The investigation continues,” Attorney General Greg Stumbo said in a statement LifeNews.com received. “Additional charges are possible in view of the deplorable sanitary conditions found in Sheikh’s office.”
An arraignment in Franklin Circuit Court is scheduled for November 30.