Most Wanted Monday: The Allegedly Insurance-Scamming Weight-Loss Doctor with the World’s Worst Radio Commercials

A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
May 20 2013 5:00 PM

Most Wanted Monday: The Allegedly Insurance-Scamming Weight-Loss Doctor with the World’s Worst Radio Commercials

Dr. Gautam Gupta
Dr. Gautam Gupta

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Crime is Slate’s crime blog. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @slatecrime.


Wanted for: Mail fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy

Added to the FBI’s White Collar Criminals list: 2011

The circumstances: If you’ve lived in Chicago over the past 10 years, chances are you’re familiar with Dr. Gautam Gupta. For the better part of a decade, the good doctor flooded Chicago’s radio waves with smarmy commercials touting his weight loss clinics, encouraging listeners to “call Dr. Gautam Gupta” and enlist medical science in their weight loss efforts. I could find no trace of these commercials anywhere on the Internet, but they weren’t very different from the ad copy on his website, which promotes Dr. Gupta as a caring, empathetic, incredibly skilled doctor who would devise an individualized program that will put you on “the PERMANENT Road to Success.” But as it turns out, it seems the only thing Gupta was doctoring … was the books!

In 2011 federal charges were filed against Gupta, alleging that he filed $25 million worth of dishonest insurance claims to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, for procedures that he had either not performed at all or were entirely unnecessary. Moreover, former patients alleged that Gupta’s clinics were little more than pill factories, with unqualified staffers dispensing appetite suppressants before running tests to determine whether the pills were advisable or necessary. Gupta skipped town before the authorities could nab him—allegedly leaving his wife and children behind in Rockford, Ill.—and hasn’t been seen since. His horrible commercials, however, remain wedged into Chicagoans’ brains.

His likely whereabouts: Authorities think Gupta may have fled back to India, his country of origin. However, the FBI’s wanted poster helpfully notes that Gupta “has known ties to the following areas: Los Angeles, California; London, England; Mumbai, India; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Canada; Estonia; and Finland.” I’ll lay 75-to-1 odds on Finland.

Prospects of catching him: He’s got a lot of money, so he’s got the means to hide, if he wants. But every grifter finds it hard to abandon a successful scam. If the FBI really wants to get a line on Gupta, I would recommend monitoring the Indian radio waves, just in case they hear any ads touting the weight loss services of one “Dr. Rautam Rupta.”

Most Wanted Score: Gupta is on the FBI’s White Collar Criminals list, so his alleged crimes will never measure up to those committed by the hardcore violent offenders on the bureau’s other lists. But preying on people’s body image insecurities to sell them unnecessary pills and procedures is pretty scummy. Plus, his radio ads were seriously the worst. 7 out of 10 for Dr. Gautam Gupta.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.