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updated: 12/21/2012 5:59 PM

Business owner gets 10 years for health care fraud

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Associated Press

A federal judge has sentenced a South suburban Chicago man to 10 years in prison for defrauding Medicare of more than $2.9 million in a home health care scheme.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras handed down the sentence Thursday against Bahir Haj Khalil of Palos Heights. He also ordered Khalil to pay restitution and forfeit his assets.

Authorities say the 34-year-old Khalil was co-owner and executive manager of House Call Physicians, a home health business that submitted tens of thousands of false claims for unnecessary medical services.

Khalil was convicted in September. He's the last of three defendants to be sentenced.

The judge says he wants the sentence to send the message that such crimes will be treated harshly. Prosecutors say Khalil preyed on elderly victims and used them to enrich himself.

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