Desi Talk - page 6

6
December 26, 2014
NATIONAL AFFAIRS
– that’s all you need to know
By Bhargavi Kulkarni
– FORDS, N.J
ineteen-year-old
Pranathy Gangaraju of
Georgia was crowned
Miss India USA 2014 at
a glittering pageant
held here Dec. 14. Riya Kaur, 15, of
New Jersey won the Miss Teen
India USA title, while Namita
Dodwadkar, 28, of Massachusetts,
was declared the first Mrs. India
USA. The 33rd annual pageant
was organized by the NewYork-
based IFC, headed by Dharmatma
Saran, founder and main organiz-
er of the pageant.
In the Miss India USA category,
Monica Shah, 24, of Florida and
Angela Nand, 27, of Hawaii, were
declared first and second runners
up respectively among 21 contest-
ants from various parts of the
country who participated in the
Miss India USA pageant. Nisha
Kalamdani of New Jersey and
Shivali Marwaha of Virginia, were
the other two finalists.
Gangaraju, 19, is a undergradu-
ate student majoring in film act-
ing and production at the Lee in
Strasberg School of Acting and
Theater in Los Angeles. Her hob-
bies include dancing, singing,
writing and swimming. She was
crowned by outgoing queen
Monica Gill. Pranathy will repre-
sent the U.S. in the 24th annual
Miss IndiaWorldwide Pageant to
be held in Goa, India, in June
2016.
In the Miss India USA category,
Amritha Mangalat of New
Hampshire was awarded Miss
Talented.Winners of the other
sub contests were Aamy Kuldip of
Illinois: Miss Photogenic, Nandini
Aiyer of NewYork :Miss Beautiful
Eyes, Rupinder Raj of NewYork:
Miss Beautiful Skin, Nisha
Kalamdani: Miss Beautiful Hair,
Angela Nand of Hawaii: Miss
Congeniality and Miss Catwalk,
Pranathy Gangaraju fromGeorgia:
Miss Beautiful Smile, Monica
Shah of Florida: Miss Bollywood
Diva, Nandini Aiyer: Miss
Facebook and Angela Suresh of
Washington: Miss Popularity.
Kaur, 15, who won the Miss
Teen India USA title among 15
contestants, aspires to be a doctor
and an actress. The first runner up
in the category was Karishma
Malhotra, 15, of NewYork and the
second runner up was Harika
Talluri, 16, of New Hampshire.
The other two finalists were Shavi
Sikaria ofWashington and Nicky
Kandola of Virginia. Sub contest
winners in the teen section were
Karishma Malhotra of NewYork:
Miss Talented, Talluri: Miss
Photogenic, Nidhi Patel of
Georgia: Miss Congeniality and
Akila Narayanan of Massachusetts
: Miss Facebook.
Dodwadkar, winner of Mrs.
India USA, is a senior scientist at
Novartis and holds a Ph.D. in
Pharmaceutical Sciences. Her
hobbies include modeling, Latin
and Bollywood dancing and
teaching. The first runner up in
the category was Sheetal Kelkar,
35, of New Hampshire, while
Rupal Patel, 25, of NewYork, was
the second runner up. Rakashi
Chand and Tapasya Srivastava,
both of Massachusetts, were the
other two finalists. The sub con-
test winners in the section were
Dodwadkar: Miss Photogenic,
Purvi Ragoowansi of New Jersey:
Miss Congeniality and Geet Karn
ofWashington: Miss Facebook.
The pageant started with a
performance by all the contest-
ants led by Gill. All contestants
presented classical dances,
singing performances and gym-
nastics. Stacy Issac, Miss India
USA 2001 and Roshi George, Miss
FOKANA, were emcees for the
evening.
The panel of judges included
Dr. Ravi Jhagirdar, president of
AAPI, Satya Shaw a, cultural
activist from Florida; Dr. Binod
Sinha, Susmita Patel, celebrity
makeup artist and Ines
Hernandez, a fashion designer
fromDominican Republic.
19-year-old Georgia Student CrownedMiss India USA
Top winners of the night,
from left, Miss Teen India
USA Riya Kaur, Miss India
USA Pranathy Gangaraju,
Mrs. India USA Namita .
N
In response to President Obama’s
announcement about the provi-
sion of administrative relief to cer-
tain groups of undocumented
immigrants living in the United
States, the Asian American Legal
Defense and Education Fund
(AALDEF) has issued new fact
sheets summarizing these pro-
grams.
They include the expansion of
Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals (DACA) and a new
Deferred Action for Parental
Accountability (DAPA) program,
which provides eligible immi-
grants who have U.S. citizen or
permanent resident sons and
daughters temporary relief from
deportation and allows them to
apply for work authorization.
As with the original DACA pro-
gram, however, DAPA and the
expansion of DACA do not provide
a path to permanent resident
(“green card”) status or citizen-
ship. For more information on the
new DAPA and expanded DACA
programs, see AALDEF’s
Frequently Asked Questions on
“Deferred Action for Parental
Accountability and Expansion of
Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals Programs.”While we wait
for detailed guidance from the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS) on the process
for applying for deferred action
under these two programs, it is
important for individuals who
may qualify under DACA or DAPA
to consult with immigration attor-
neys and to begin collecting docu-
ments that they will need in order
to apply.We believe that the list of
“Useful Documents to Prepare for
Expanded Deferred Action
Applications,” posted on
AALDEF’s website, which can be
used to prove identity, presence
and continuous residence in the
U.S., and family ties to U.S. citizen
or permanent resident children,
will be helpful in preparing sup-
porting documents.
Individuals seeking DAPA or
DACA status fromUSCIS cannot
file their applications until
February 2015 for the expanded
DACA and May 2015 for DAPA.
However, those who are eligible
under the original DACA program
can continue to file initial or
renewal applications.
For more information, contact
AnnieWang, Staff Attorney (212)
966.5932 x213;
or Stanley Mark, Senior Staff
Attorney (212) 966.5932 x204;
New Fact Sheets Available on Administrative Relief for Undocumented Immigrants
ANNOUNCEMENT
By Ela Dutt
A
federal jury convicted an
Indian-American pharma-
cy owner in Maryland of
healthcare fraud and aggravated
identity theft Dec. 15. Two co-con-
spirators, who are Indian citizens,
already pled guilty in August to
defrauding Medicare and
Medicaid. Two other Indian-
Americans pleaded guilty and tes-
tified against the others.
Reddy Vijay Annappareddy, 46,
of Fallston, Maryland, was con-
victed for operating a fraud
scheme that bilked insurance
companies of $2.5 million for pre-
scriptions refills that customers
did not require. Annappareddy’s
conviction carries a maximum
sentence of 10 years in prison for
health care fraud and a mandato-
ry minimum of two years in
prison consecutive to any sen-
tence imposed for aggravated
identity theft.
He may also have to pay a
$250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge
George L. Russell III scheduled
sentencing for March 11 next year.
Annappareddy owns
Pharmacare, LLC and Caremerica,
LLC, a pharmacy store chain
doing business in Maryland and
elsewhere. He hired co-defen-
dants Vipinkumar Patel, 31, and
Jigar Patel, 28, as pharmacy tech-
nicians in 2009 and 2010, respec-
tively, at Pharmacare and
Caremerica, both located in Bel
Air, Maryland. The Patels are citi-
zens of, and licensed pharmacists
in India, working in the United
States under the H1-B visa.
According to the plea agreements
the Patels signed on to, they did
not receive the profits from the
fraud scheme directly, but were
able to keep their jobs at
Pharmacare and lawfully remain
in the United States on their H1-B
visas, the Baltimore Sun reported
in August.
Two others, RamGuruvareddy,
59, of Belcamp, Maryland, and
Venkata Srinivas Mannava, 45, of
Hyattsville, Maryland, also pled
guilty to their roles in the scheme,
and testified at the trial of the oth-
ers. Annapareddy carried on his
fraud between 2007 to July 2013,
using the two Patels to bill insur-
ance programs for prescription
refills though customers had not
requested the refill.
As soon as a prescription was
eligible for refill, an electronically
programmed system set up by
Annapareddy and the Patels
would submit a claim for refills, to
Medicare and Medicaid. In many
cases the customer would not be
aware that the claim has been
submitted. The medications tar-
geted for automatic refills were
typically expensive HIV and can-
cer medications used by very ill
customers. The claims for pay-
ment were not reversed when the
customers did not receive the
medications, which the customers
had not requested in the first
place.
Annapareddy also knew that
medications filled but not deliv-
ered to the customer – usually
because the customer had not
requested the refill – were placed
back on the shelves at the phar-
macy to be re-used to fill other
prescriptions.
In July 2013, a search of
Annappareddy’s residence, several
pharmacies and a corporate office
in Maryland, broke open the
fraud. Annapareddy even used a
vacant home in his wife’s name to
house Pharmacare employees. It
was at this home that Federal
agents recovered undelivered
medications worth over $100,000,
and other evidence.
Vipinkumar Patel’s sentencing
is set for Jan.15, but no date has
been set so far for Jigar Patel. Both
are subject to a maximum sen-
tence of 5 years in prison for mak-
ing false statements.
Jury Convicts Maryland Pharmacy Owner of Health Care Fraud
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