1 pleads guilty, another not guilty in $1B fraud scheme

CHICAGO (AP) — A former vice president of a Chicago-based health information company pleaded guilty Monday for his role in what authorities called a $1 billion fraud scheme.

Ashik Desai pleaded guilty to wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors, who said they would recommend that he serve no more than 10 years in prison if he does. Desai was among several former Outcome Health executives who were indicted last month.

Outcome Health mainly works with pharmaceutical companies whose ads appear on tablets in doctors’ waiting rooms.

Authorities allege that the company billed clients for full ad campaigns when only some ads were placed. The company is accused of falsifying ad performance statements and later using them to help secure millions in loans.

Others indicted include former CEO Rishi Shah and president Shradha Agarwal, who were expected to enter pleas next week. Former chief financial officer Brad Purdy pleaded not guilty Monday to several fraud charges.

All three denied wrongdoing through their attorneys.