California physician convicted of healthcare fraud, kickbacks

Oakland, Calif.-based physician Henry Geoffrey Watson, MD, was convicted for accepting kickbacks for patient referrals, healthcare fraud and false statements. 

From 2013 to 2019, Dr. Watson engaged in three healthcare schemes, according to a Nov. 1 news release from the U.S. Justice Department. In the first scheme, Dr. Watson agreed to refer patients to home health agency Amity Home Health Care in exchange for kickback payments. He was paid regularly in recurring amounts, often in cash payments of $3,000. 

In the second scheme, Dr. Watson accepted kickback payments from an undercover FBI agent posing as a home health agency representative. Evidence at trial showed video recordings of Dr. Watson accepting envelopes of cash at four meetings in 2017, according to the report. 

The third scheme involved Dr. Watson falsely certifying elderly residents of a retirement home for Medicare-funded services that they did not seek nor need and accepting kickbacks for referring the residents to home health providers.

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