Police investigate death of American Spine Center's physician accused in federal kickback scheme: 6 things to know


The Frederick (Md.) Police Department is investigating the death of Sandeep Sherlekar, MD, co-founder of the American Spine Center, the Frederick News-Post reports.

Dr. Sherlekar and four other medical professionals were indicted by a federal grand jury in June for a kickback scheme that allegedly linked $1.37 million back to the practice.


Here's what you need to know.


1. Dr. Sherlekar was found unresponsive in the center Friday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


2. The American Spine Center released a statement identifying Dr. Sherlekar as the deceased, saying, "As a family, we are in a state of shock and grief. We ask that everyone please respect our desire for privacy at this time.


3. The spine center's other co-founder Atif Malik, MD, was also indicted by the grand jury. His trial date has not been set.


The two physicians were accused of allegedly collecting kickbacks from vendors if they referred patients to a laboratory in New Jersey.


4. The center had video surveillance and police are reviewing it. Officers are still determining how Dr. Sherlekar died. The police seized all the electronic devices in his office.


5. Dr. Sherlekar and Dr. Malik filed a civil lawsuit in 2012 in the U.S. District Court of Maryland
accusing the center's CEO Ahmad Khan and CFO Vic Wadhwa of allegedly perpetrating financial crimes at the center.


Mr. Wadhwa pleaded guilty to the civil case and is awaiting sentencing. The civil case was halted on Jan. 16 because of pending legal proceedings.


Mr. Khan was named as a co-defendant in the kickback case.


6. The center was closed Sept. 30 and reopened on Oct. 3.


More spine news:
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Measuring spine the right way — Dr. Neel Anand on the spine industry in a value-based world

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