A main figure in Rod Blagojevich's corruption scandal was arrested by the FBI Wednesday morning for allegedly paying kickbacks to doctors in exchange for patient referrals, the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago announced.
Raghuveer Nayak, 57, faces 19 federal fraud and tax charges for allegedly paying off physicians who drove business to outpatient surgical centers Nayak owned. The government alleges he then lied on tax forms to cover up the scheme.
The FBI said he was arrested without incident at his home in Oak Brook early Wednesday. According to the indictment, Nayak paid and arranged to bribe doctors with kickbacks in the form of cash and other hidden payments so that the physcians would then refer patients for medical treatment at his facilities. Nayak's alleged payouts amounted to "hundreds of thosuands of dollars," according to the indictment.
Federal prosecutors say Nayak got cash to pay for the bribes by writing checks to an unnamed "Individual A." The person would keep about 30 percent of the money, and pay the rest to Nayak in cash to use for kickbacks and bribes, the government alleges. The indictment says Nayak covered his tracks by lying on tax forms, saying the checks were for "advertising expenses."
Nayak was a key figure in Blagojevich's corruption scandal, though he wasn’t charged with any crime related to the ex-governor's case. The U.S. House Committee on Ethics is still investigating ether Illinois U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. directed Nayak to offer fundraising help for Blagojevich, in exchange for the governor appointing Jackson to a vacant U.S. Senate seat.
An associate of Nayak's testified in federal court that the offer was discussed during a meeting at a downtown Chicago restaurant that the congressman attended. Jackson has denied he knew anything about the Senate seat offer.
Blagojevich is now serving a 14-year federal prison term on corruption-related charges relating to the senate seat scandal.
A Jackson spokesman would not immediately comment on news of Nayak's arrest.