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Las Vegas doctor pleads guilty to taking kickbacks

A longtime Las Vegas physician pleaded guilty Tuesday in a scheme to take $5,400 in kickbacks to refer Medicare patients to a home health agency.

William Alvear, 61, who runs the St. Louis Medical Center on East St. Louis Avenue, pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting and receiving remuneration.

He was indicted in February 2015 on four counts of the felony charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Crane Pomerantz said in court Tuesday that both sides agreed to a sentence of three years’ probation for Alvear, who is free on his own recognizance.

U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware set a June 14 sentencing date.

Alvear, a licensed primary care physician, accepted the kickbacks from the unidentified home health agency four times between April and May 2013, according to the indictment.

In return for the cash, Alvear referred patients who were homebound and needed medical treatment to the agency, the indictment alleged.

A homebound patient was defined in the indictment as someone who needs the help of another person or special equipment, including a walker, wheelchair or crutches to move around.

Alvear was charged under the federal anti-kickback statute designed to ensure that medical referral decisions are made with a patient’s best interest in mind and that inflationary medical costs from unnecessary referrals are limited, the indictment stated.

Alvear has been serving the “underprivileged community” in Las Vegas for years, according to his lawyer, Steve Stein.

Records show Alvear, who graduated from a medical school in Colombia, received his license to practice medicine in Nevada in July 1996.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.

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