Crime & Courts

Anchorage physician faces charges of $1 million in Medicaid fraud

An Anchorage physician charged with Medicaid fraud now faces accusations that he fraudulently billed more than $1 million to the government program over the course of four years.

Charging documents released last week accused Dr. Shubhranjan Ghosh of more than $300,000 worth of fraudulent Medicaid practices, but as the state continues its audit of his practice, the alleged fraud now totals more than $1 million, director of the state Medicaid Fraud Unit Andrew Peterson told the court during a bail hearing at the Anchorage Correctional Complex Wednesday morning.

Ghosh is a psychiatrist specializing in mental health services for children. A sole practitioner, Ghosh and his office manager Nathaniel Carter allegedly worked together to fraudulently bill Medicaid beginning in 2010.

During the bail hearing, the prosecution and defense argued over whether Ghosh's temporary bail -- set at $100,000 -- was a proper amount. Defense attorney J. Robert Woofter Jr. told the court that Ghosh's parents and stepfather had managed to piece together the $100,000 in cash and argued that the bail should remain at that amount so Ghosh could return to treating his clients.

Peterson argued that bail should be raised by an additional $100,000, telling the court that Ghosh was a flight risk. Although he had surrendered his passport, a second passport that Ghosh allegedly lost is still valid and could be used to leave the country, Peterson said.

Peterson told the court that the state had made a plea deal with co-defendant Carter, Ghosh's office manager. Carter agreed to wear a wire during a conversation with the doctor in which Ghosh allegedly admitted to the fraud.

During the 45-minute conversation, Ghosh told Carter that the state would likely find more than $1 million in overpayments, and that if that happened, he would leave the U.S. for his home country of India. He allegedly told Carter that he was tired of lying to his lawyers, but "if we keep our stories straight, we will get past this," Peterson told presiding judge Pamela Washington.


Ghosh had asked one of his former clients, an 18-year-old woman, to sign an affidavit that she had received treatment at his clinic and commit perjury for Ghosh's benefit, Peterson said. His actions violated the trust of his clients and community, Peterson said.

Peterson also told the court that Ghosh had both written multiple opiate prescriptions for friends, and that Ghosh himself had a prescription drug problem. Both Carter and Ghosh's ex-girlfriend testified that he would use prescription pills throughout the day at work, Peterson said.

Woofter questioned the state's case, based on Carter's viability as a witness. Carter was convicted of manslaughter in 1995, and Woofter alleged that the new office assistant has found roughly $45,000 in embezzled checks underneath Carter's desk since she began working at the office three weeks ago. Woofter said Carter was dishonest, lacking a "moral compass," and had coerced the 45-minute statement out of Ghosh.

Woofter said Carter was the true orchestrator of the Medicaid fraud. "I think we're going to find wrongdoing by Nate Carter, who is trying to shift all the blame on Dr. Ghosh," he said.

Woofter also called the allegations that Ghosh had a prescription drug problem "patently absurd."

He asked that bail remain at $100,000 so that Ghosh could return to treating his clients. The new office assistant was fielding calls from parents asking when he would be released and able to treat their children again, Woofter said.

Washington heard the lengthy arguments from both sides before upholding the $100,000 in bail in cash, and including an additional $100,000 in cash-corporate bond bail, as well as a third party custodian. She cited the "huge charges" before Ghosh and his possibility as a flight risk.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.