US court convicts Pakistani doctor for embezzling $258.5m


*Dr Zahid Imran sentenced to 7 years in jail, fined $43.5m for setting up fraudulent medicare scheme offering psychiatric services that were ‘unnecessary or never actually provided’

An American doctor of Pakistani origin, Dr Zahid Imran has been convicted of fraud by a US court after proof of misappropriation of $258.5million in the US Health Department, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Imran, an owner and operator of community mental health centers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been sentenced seven years in jail besides being fined $43.5 million.

Per details, US District Court Chief Judge Brian A Jackson of the Middle District of Louisiana imposed the sentence upon Imran and his accomplices.

The Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI), US Health Department and Louisiana inspector general had filed a case in the courts of Louisiana over the doctor’s role in a $258 million Medicare fraud scheme regarding psychiatric services that were “unnecessary or never actually provided” and the procurement of hefty payments from the US Health Department.

As part of the scheme, Imran reportedly admitted mentally ill patients to the facilities, some of whom were inappropriate for partial hospitalisation, and then re-certified the patients’ appropriateness for the program in an effort to continue to bill Medicare for services.

Imran and others allegedly falsified patient treatment records to reflect services on dates when no such services were provided.

The investigation of three community mental health centers, Shifa Community Mental Health Center of Baton Rouge (Shifa Baton Rouge), Serenity Center of Baton Rouge (Serenity Center), and Shifa Community Mental Health Center of Texas (Shifa Texas) were used in the fraud which has resulted in the convictions of 17 individuals employed by the facilities, including owners and the medical director, therapists, marketers and administrators.

According to court documents, the companies had billed Medicare more than $258 million over a period of seven years. Hoor Naz Jafri who owned and operated two communities’ mental health centers in Baton Rouge and one in Houston has to pay $43.5 million in restitution and serve eight-and-a-half years in federal prison for a Medicare fraud.


Imran hails from Lahore and received his early education from Government Central Model School, Lahore. Later, he obtained a MBBS degree from Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur in 1980-1981. Thereafter, he went to the US where he obtained a degree to become a psychiatrist physician.

He also launched an organisation named “Association of Pakistan physicians for Democracy and Justice “(APPJD).

Under the auspices of the organisation he invited leading Pakistani politicians Javed Hashmi, Aitzaz Ahsan, Dr Farooq Sattar and many others to a convention which was also attended by US- Pakistani doctors. Besides, there are several pictures of Imran with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at various meetings. The convicted doctor also has ties with former federal minister and current PTI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Azam Swati.