Bay City Vascular Surgeon Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield

A vascular surgeon from Bay City pleaded guilty Tuesday to participating in a scheme to defraud Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross-Blue Shield out of approximately $19.5 million. The announcement came from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Michigan.

Federal prosecutors said according to his plea agreement, 59-year-old Dr. Vasso Godiali began knowingly defrauding the three medical insurers around 2009. They said he did so by causing the submission of false billing to all three insurers. The fraudulent billing included things like billing the insurers for services never rendered while submitting inaccurate medical records to justify the bills.

“The scale of Dr. Godiali’s fraud is stunning and his willingness to illegally enrich himself at the
expense of our district’s taxpayers and policyholders is egregious.” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison.
“Brazen schemes like this have no place in our district, and today’s guilty plea reflects my
office’s commitment to holding medical providers accountable when they abuse society’s trust
by engaging in such misconduct.”

“When Dr. Godiali submitted claims for medical services that were never provided, he violated
the trust of his patients and defrauded taxpayer-funded health care programs,” said Special
Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto. “HHS-OIG agents will continue to work with our law
enforcement partners to identify and investigate medical providers who prey on beneficiaries
and steal from federal health care programs.”

“Today’s guilty plea should send a clear message to all health care providers that health care
fraud is a federal crime that carries serious consequences and will not be tolerated,” said Josh
P. Hauxhurst, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “In partnership with
federal, state, and private sector partners, the FBI will work diligently to identify these fraud
schemes and hold parties who execute them accountable.”

Sentencing is set for September 15, 2022. Godiali faces up to ten years’ imprisonment and the
forfeiture of $19.5 million. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Godiali will be required to
pay $19.5 in restitution to Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. A civil
forfeiture case against approximately $39.9 million seized from accounts controlled by Godiali
remains pending.