By Eric Boehm

While taxpayers were picking up the tab for intensive, outpatient care for mentally ill patients, those patients were playing games and watching movies.

It was part of a Medicare scam run by two Houston doctors who defrauded the system out of $97 million over five years.

A federal jury Thursday convicted physicians Mansour Sanjar, 81, and Cyrus Sajadi, 66, the owners of Spectrum Care P.A., along with several of their employees, for their roles in the Medicare scam. From 2006 through 2011, the doctors had been orchestrating a scheme in which they overbilled Medicaid for services that were not performed and, in many cases, which their patients were not eligible to receive.

Spectrum ran a partial hospitalization program for people with severe mental illnesses in need of intensive therapy and ongoing care.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Sanjar and Sajadi billed Medicare for services when the beneficiaries were actually watching movies, coloring and playing games — activities not covered by Medicare.

Read More: watchdog.org