Former Candidate In Upper Merion Charged With Fraud Gulamnabi Y. Vahora Is Accused Of Passing Himself Off As A Doctor And Bilking Medicaid.

Posted: February 01, 1996

KING OF PRUSSIA — An Upper Merion man who has three times run for local office has been accused of posing as a doctor and treating more than 400 patients, and charged with fraudulently billing Medicaid for more than $8,000.

Gulamnabi Y. Vahora, 50, was arrested Monday by state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit agents in North Philadelphia and was arraigned Tuesday night. Vahora, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, was released on his own recognizance.

According to Senior Deputy Attorney General Susan Antonelli, the investigation of Vahora began in August 1993, when a Philadelphia doctor who had employed him questioned his medical credentials.

During their probe, Antonelli said, investigators determined that Vahora charged Medicaid patients for more than $8,000 while he ran Dr. Munawar Chaudhri's Philadelphia office for a month several years ago.

``The investigation revealed that Gulamnabi Vahora, who was not licensed to practice medicine, had treated medical assistance patients . . . from Dec. 19, 1990, through Jan. 18, 1991,'' special agent James B. Mancini reported in court documents. Vahora cannot be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license, Antonelli said, because the statue of limitations has expired. Only the fact that the patients were on medical assistance enabled charges to be brought.

According to Mancini's affidavit, Chaudhri told investigators that in December 1990 she went to Pakistan and asked Vahora to see her patients until her return. She said that she agreed to pay him 60 percent of the revenue generated while she was gone, that he knew he would be treating medical assistance patients, and that several months later she learned he was not licensed as a physician.

``During a confrontation with Vahora in October 1993, she asked Vahora if he was licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,'' Mancini said in court documents. ``He responded by shouting that he has all types of identification cards, but nothing to indicate that he was a licensed physician.''

Chaudhri could not be reached for comment.

In 1993, when he was running for the Upper Merion school board, Vahora told the League of Women Voters that he was a doctor of medicine who had worked as a medical director and administrator at a number of area hospitals, several of which have gone out of business. None of those still in business were able to confirm or deny that he had worked there.

During interviews with Chaudhri's secretary, state investigators found that in addition to seeing patients in treatment rooms, examining them, and writing his findings in their files, he also issued prescriptions on pre-signed prescription pads.

``Review revealed that Department of Public Welfare was billed and paid for services allegedly rendered by Vahora, who is neither a licensed physician, nor an approved provider,'' the affidavit said.

Vahora, who has lived in the King of Prussia area for more than 20 years, ran unsuccessfully for the Upper Merion Area school board in 1991 and 1993 and for township supervisor in 1991.

A native of India, Vahora received both a master's degree in bacteriology and public health and a doctoral degree in bacteriology from Utah State University in the early 1970s.

If convicted, Antonelli said, Vahora would face seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Feb. 23 before Harrisburg District Justice Raymond F. Shugars.

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