Mason spinal surgeon pleads not guilty to health care fraud

Published: Aug. 7, 2013 at 9:19 PM EDT|Updated: Dec. 2, 2013 at 8:44 PM EST
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Durrani and his attorney exiting the courthouse after an arraignment on Monday.
Durrani and his attorney exiting the courthouse after an arraignment on Monday.

A Mason spinal surgeon accused of health care fraud pleaded not guilty to 11 charges on Monday.

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Abubakar Atiq Durrani, 44, was previously indicted by a federal grand jury on five counts of making false statements in health care matters, five counts of health care fraud and one civil charge of fraud.

Durrani appeared in court for an arraignment Monday and plead not guilty.

He arrested on June 26 stemming from a federal complaint alleging that he convinced patients to undergo medically unnecessary spinal surgeries then billed private and public healthcare benefit programs for the fraudulent services.

Durrani owns a private practice called the Center for Advanced Spine Technologies (CAST) with offices in Evendale and Florence.  Local attorney Eric Deters also says Dr. Durrani previously practiced at West Chester/UC Health and Journey Lite.

The indictment alleges that Durrani would tell the patient the medical situation was urgent and that back surgery was needed right away.

However, according to the patients' lawsuits, other doctors later determined those surgeries as unnecessary and damaging to the patient's health. The indictment alleges that, in some instances, patients received "serious bodily injury." 

It also alleges that Durrani made false statements to patients, colleagues and hospitals in order to further his scheme.

One of Durrani's attorneys, Michael Lyon, told FOX19 in February: "Well, I've seen this. I've been defending doctors for 38 years. I've seen this in the past. We have several plaintiffs if you will, or patients, combined, and it's two things. It's a bandwagon effect, and it's a plaintiff's lawyer who is promoting and participating this action," said Lyon.

In addition, Durrani's defense attorneys say the federal complaint and civil lawsuits against their client do not take into consideration the thousands of people he has treated successfully, which you can read more about here:

Health care fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The crime of making false statements in health care matters is punishable by up to five years in prison.

A trial date has not been set.

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