Burr Ridge, Oak Brook residents charged in scheme

BURR RIDGE — Roy Payawal of Burr Ridge, Venkateswara Kuchipudi of Oak Brook and Edward Novak of Park Ridge were charged last week as part of an alleged kickback scheme at Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago.

Payawal, 66, is the executive vice president and chief financial officer. Novak, 58, is the owner and Kuchipudi, 66, was one of four physicians charged.

The two executives and four doctors are charged with conspiring to pay and receive illegal kickbacks, in which they allegedly paid doctors to refer patients on Medicaid and Medicare to the hospital. They then allegedly would do unnecessary procedures to prolong a patient’s stay, federal prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say the scheme netted more than $225,000 in cash and at least $2 million in healthcare program reimbursements.

If convicted, the two executives and four physicians could face five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and mandatory restitution.