The owners of Whispering Oaks, a defunct St. Louis County residential care facility, are in the news again. The St. Louis County Health Department forced the closure of the facility due to lack of running water in January 2010.
Whispering Oaks is owned by Naren Chaganti, a St. Louis attorney. Reportedly, federal agents have been investigating Chaganti for possible health care fraud at his now-closed facility. Published reports say that federal investigators have asked a judge to order Chaganti to comply with subpoenas requesting him to turn over business and banking documents related to the criminal investigation. Records pertaining to work performed by his brother, psychiatrist Dr. Surendra Chaganti, at the now defunct residential care facility are also sought.
The investigation could result in Chaganti facing charges of making false statements to the federal government, perpetrating a fraudulent health care scheme, and conspiracy.
Chaganti claims he is being targeted due to his Indian heritage and claims the government is investigating him because it would help former assistant U.S. attorney Kevin O’Malley, who is a member of the state healing arts board.
Chaganti’s brother, Dr. Surendra Chaganti, has not been without his share of problems. Surendra Chaganti faced charges before the Board of Healing Arts alleging that he provided substandard care to a patient who died at St. Anthony’s Hospital, ignored a pediatric patient, and prescribed psychiatric medications inappropriately at St. Anthony’s in 2001 and 2002. Surendra Chaganti denied the allegations.
A settlement was reached in 2007 that allowed Surendra Chaganti to resign from St. Anthony’s.