Ohio surgeon pleads not guilty to performing unnecessary surgeries

CINCINNATI - A Cincinnati spine doctor accused of performing unnecessary surgeries and billing health care programs millions of dollars has pleaded not guilty to charges including health care fraud.

Court records show Abubakar Atiq Durrani pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court to five health care fraud counts and five counts of making false statements in health care matters.

Authorities allege many patients wound up with worse neck and back pain after the 44-year-old Mason doctor performed unneeded spinal surgeries.

Prosecutors say Durrani owns the Center for Advanced Spine Technologies Inc. that has offices in the Cincinnati suburb of Evendale and in Florence, Ky.

Health care fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Making false statements in health care matters is punishable by up to five years in prison.

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