Detroit-Area Home Health Care Agency Owners Convicted in $33 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
Two home health care agency owners were convicted today of various offenses based on their roles in a $33 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.
Zafar Mehmood, 49, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering. Mehmood also was convicted of two counts of obstruction of justice related to his theft of evidence from an HHS-OIG facility. Badar Ahmadani, 48, also of Ypsilanti, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks.
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2006 through 2011, Mehmood and Ahmadani participated in a scheme in which they obtained patients by paying cash kickbacks to recruiters, who in turn paid cash to patients to induce them to sign up for home health care with Mehmood’s companies: Access Care Home Care Inc., Patient Care Home Care Inc., Hands On Healing Home Care Inc. and All State Home Care Inc. The evidence also showed that the defendants paid kickbacks to physicians to refer patients to the defendants’ companies for unnecessary home health care services.
The evidence introduced at trial further established that the defendants and their co-conspirators falsified records to make it appear as if the patients qualified for and received the services for which Medicare was billed over $33 million during the course of the conspiracy. The evidence also showed that Mehmood used a co-conspirator to launder the proceeds of the fraud through shell companies under his control.
Trial evidence also demonstrated that, while visiting an HHS-OIG facility during pretrial release, Mehmood stole documents and materials that law enforcement authorities seized during the execution of search warrants at his companies. Law enforcement subsequently recovered the missing documents and materials during the execution of a search of Mehmood’s jail cell.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Niall M. O’Donnell and A. Brendan Stewart, and Senior Trial Attorney Nathan Dimock, Assistant Chief Jennifer L. Saulino, Assistant Chief Catherine K. Dick and Deputy Chief Gejaa T. Gobena of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged over 2,300 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $7 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to:www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.