Court tightens rules for prosecutors looking to peruse the e-mail of people they've indicted

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that prosecutors can order e-mail providers such as Google hand over the complete e-mail records of people under indictment - if they're being investigated for additional charges and under strict supervision to ensure they don't get a look at any messages between the defendants and their lawyers.

The ruling comes in the case of the owner and an employee of a company charged with Medicare fraud. After the owner, Dr. Punyamurtula Kishore, and Preventative Medical Associates were indicted, the state Attorney General's office obtained a court order under which Google handed over roughly 80,000 e-mail records, from both his account and that of another employee.

The AG's office employed a two-step process to ensure it only actually looked at e-mails related to its criminal investigation that did not also involve messages to the defendants' lawyers - first a forensics expert used a program to segregate messages that mentioned the lawyers' names, then a "taint team" of prosecutors with no connection to the case reviewed messages.

Kishore and the company's lawyers objected, saying that after they got a look at the messages, some of them were "privileged" under the Constitution's right to counsel and against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In its ruling, the court said it had no problems with a large prosecutorial office such as the Attorney Genera's office setting up taint teams - and requiring its members to swear not to reveal anything they see to anybody - but that the approach might not work with the state's smaller district attorneys offices. It added prosecutors in the future will need to tell judges from whom they seek search warrants for e-mail whether the person is already under indictment - something that did not happen in this case.



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    MAD DOG MILLIONAIRE a.k.a. Punyamurtula S. Kishore MD

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    Punyamurtula Kishore MD a.k.a. MAD DOG MILLIONAIRE , Brookline Doctor Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Jail and Ordered to Pay $9.3 Million for Running
    Medicaid Kickback and False Billing Scheme
    Punyamurtula Kishore MD a.k.a. MAD DOG MILLIONAIRE to Surrender Medical License, Sentenced to House of Correction
    BOSTON – A Brookline doctor has pleaded guilty, was
    sentenced to jail, and has been ordered to pay $9.3 million in
    restitution for running an intricate Medicaid fraud scheme involving
    millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, Attorney General Maura Healey
    announced today.
    Dr. Punyamurtula Kishore, 64, along with his company Preventive
    Medicine Associates, Inc. (PMA), pleaded guilty on Monday in Suffolk
    Superior Court. PMA pleaded guilty to charges of Medicaid Kickbacks (8
    counts), Medicaid False Claims (19 counts) and Larceny over $250 (11
    counts). Dr. Kishore pleaded guilty to one count of Larceny over $250.
    “Dr. Kishore orchestrated a complex kickback scheme to funnel a
    lucrative drug screening business to his laboratories and then billed
    taxpayers millions of dollars for those services,” AG Healey said. “This
    case exhibited blatant theft of state funds that were supposed to go
    toward care for some of our most vulnerable residents. This is fraud
    that undermines the integrity of our health care system.”
    Today, Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders sentenced Kishore to 360
    days in the House of Correction, with 11 months to serve and the balance
    suspended for 10 years. As a condition to his sentence, Kishore has
    also agreed to surrender his medical license. Judge Sanders also ordered
    Kishore and PMA to pay, jointly and severally, a total of $9.3 million
    in restitution.
    Dr. Kishore previously owned and managed PMA, a network of 29 medical
    branches throughout Massachusetts, including physician office
    laboratories and one independent clinical laboratory. Based on the AG’s
    investigation, Dr. Kishore used bribes, or kickbacks, to induce sober
    house owners to send their residents’ urine drug screening business to
    his laboratories for testing. Residents were typically screened three
    times per week.
    A urine drug screen may be billed to MassHealth by a physician if the
    screen is medically necessary. Drug screens generally are billed to the
    MassHealth program for approximately $100 to $200. Dr. Kishore
    manipulated his business relationships with sober house owners to
    illegally obtain tens of thousands of drug screens paid for by
    MassHealth for sober house residents who were never treated by PMA
    In September 2011, Dr. Kishore and PMA were indicted,
    and individually charged with Medicaid Kickbacks (8 counts), and
    Medicaid False Claims (8 counts). In November 2013, Dr. Kishore and PMA
    were indicted on additional charges of Medicaid False Claims (11 counts)
    and Larceny over $250 (11 counts) for billing MassHealth for millions
    of dollars in drug screens using the names of PMA physicians and nurse
    practitioners who were not actually treating the patients or determining
    the drug screens to be medically necessary. State regulations require
    that the services must be medically necessary and the provider must be
    physically present and actively involved in the treatment of the
    Two other individuals previously pleaded guilty to one count of
    Medicaid Kickbacks in connection with their involvement in Dr. Kishore’s
    scheme to defraud MassHealth. In June 2012, Damion Smith, 42, of New
    Jersey, president of Fresh Start Recovery Coalition, was sentenced to
    two years in the House of Correction suspended for two years with
    probation. Carl Smith, 69, of Dorchester, manager of New Horizon House,
    pleaded guilty in January 2015 and was sentenced to two years in the
    House of Correction suspended for two years with probation.
    The case against Thomas Leonard of Malden, the part owner and manager
    of the Marshall House, a sober house located in Malden, is ongoing.
    John Coughlin of Carver, president of Gianna’s House Inc., which
    operates several sober houses located in Wareham, New Bedford, and
    Sandwich, began his trial today in Suffolk Superior Court.
    This case, first referred to the AG's Office by MassHealth, was
    prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Angela Neal, David Scheffler,
    and Lee Hettinger of AG Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division with the
    assistance of victim witness advocates John Malone and Amber Anderson.
    The case was investigated by Erica Schlain and Denise Long of the
    Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the
    Attorney General’s Office, Examiners from AG Healey’s Computer Forensics
    Lab, Special Agents from the Boston Office of the United States
    Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General,
    and investigators from the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau also
    assisted in this case.

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