TRENTON – An Englewood doctor with a medical office in Jersey City was indicted today on charges that he defrauded the Medicaid program, illegally distributed narcotic painkillers, and attempted to hire men to kill three people: his wife, his lover and a business partner, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced.
According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi, the Division of Criminal Justice obtained a 14-count state grand jury indictment charging Dr. Ajit Jayaram, 63, with three counts of first-degree attempted murder. In addition, the indictment charges Jayaram with writing narcotics prescriptions in exchange for cash and billing Medicaid for services never provided. His office manager, Sheema Mickens, 30, of Jersey City, is also charged in the indictment in connection with the alleged Medicaid fraud.
During a Medicaid fraud investigation called Operation MedScam, conducted by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and the Jersey City Police Department, the investigating agencies obtained information that Jayaram allegedly attempted to hire a man to kill his lover, Radha Ramaswamy, and a pharmacist, Mukhtar Ahmed.
Jayaram owes Ramaswamy $250,000 and allegedly was worried his wife would learn of their affair. Jayaram and Ahmed had a prior failed business relationship and were involved in ongoing disputes over a woman, officials said. Jayaram was initially arrested on Oct. 12, 2010. While in Hudson County Jail, he allegedly tried to hire another man to kill his wife, Sarasavani Jayaram. He allegedly believed that if his wife learned of his affair, she would leave him and take all of his money. Jayaram was charged by complaint on April 13, 2011 in the alleged plot to have his wife murdered. He is in Hudson County Jail with bail set at $2.5 million.
“This indictment suggests that nothing was beyond the realm of this doctor: not Medicaid fraud, not drug dealing, and not attempting to have those closest to him murdered,” said Dow. “The allegations indicate that our investigators put a stop to a very dangerous man.”
“It is fairly common for Medicaid fraud investigations to lead to evidence of other types of crime, including narcotics offenses, but there is nothing common about this doctor,” said Taylor. “We allege that, while already in jail on two counts of attempted murder, he tried to hire a man to kill his wife.”
“This indictment alleges a broad range of serious crimes, from narcotics distribution to Medicaid fraud to attempted murder,” said Chillemi. “This case demonstrates that the greed of those who commit white-collar crimes can lead to violent acts.”
“I would like to join Director Taylor in commending all of the officers involved in this investigation,” said Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey. “During the course of an investigation into prescription fraud, they uncovered a murder for hire case and acted swiftly and diligently to protect all of the targeted individuals and apprehend the actor.”
The indictment alleges that on several occasions between March 1, 2010 and Nov. 1, 2010, Jayaram wrote prescriptions for the narcotic painkiller oxcodone for a witness who cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation. Jayaram allegedly accepted cash from the cooperating witness in exchange for the prescriptions and did not obtain a patient history or perform any examination of the witness.
It is alleged that in connection with the visits by the witness, Jayaram and Mickens knowingly conspired with others to receive payments from Medicaid for claims for medical examinations, procedures or tests that were never performed or were not medically necessary. The indictment charges Jayaram and Mickens with conspiracy, health care claims fraud and two counts of Medicaid fraud.
In addition, Jayaram is charged with the three counts of attempted murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (oxycodone), distribution of oxycodone within 500 feet of a public building, and distribution of oxycodone within 1,000 feet of a school. He is charged with making terroristic threats for allegedly leaving messages on Ramaswamy’s answering machine and allegedly making statements during a phone call threatening to kill her. He is charged with witness tampering for allegedly asking a witness in the Hudson County Jail to falsify his statement to the police.
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