Indictment Charges Alleged Dental Clinic Operator Involved in $20 Million Medicaid Fraud Scheme

June 12, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on June 11, 2012 released the following:

“David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned a nine-count indictment charging Gary F. Anusavice, also known as “Gary Andrews,” “Gary Andrus,” and “Gary Francis,” 59, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, with various offenses related to his involvement in a $20 million Medicaid fraud scheme. The indictment was returned on June 7, 2012. Anusavice has been detained since his arrest on May 24, 2012.

“By surreptitiously operating dental clinics in Connecticut, this defendant allegedly defrauded the Medicaid program of more than $20 million over a two-year period,” said U.S. Attorney Fein. “We are committed to protecting American taxpayers from health care fraud, which can increase costs and jeopardize the integrity of our health care system. I want to commend HHS-OIG, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the FBI for their investigative efforts and thank the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, which provided invaluable assistance during the course of this investigation.”

According to the indictment, the Medicaid program is a joint federal-state program that provides funds for medical services to lower-income individuals who qualify for benefits. The program is jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and supervised by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In Connecticut, the Medicaid program is administered by the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS).

The indictment alleges that Anusavice was previously a registered dentist in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In July 1997, Anusavice sustained a felony conviction in Massachusetts for submitting false health care claims and was subject to disciplinary proceedings in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Based on Anusavice’s Massachusetts disciplinary proceedings, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified Anusavice in April 1998 that he was being excluded from participation in Medicare and state health care programs, including Medicaid. As part of that notice, Anusavice was informed that, as an excluded individual, he may not “submit claims or cause claims to be submitted” for payment from the federal Medicaid program. Further, Anusavice was advised that Medicaid reimbursement payments are prohibited to any entity in which he serves as an “employee, administrator, operator, or in any other capacity.”

In November 2005, Anusavice surrendered his right to practice dentistry in Rhode Island for 18 months, and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry permanently revoked Anusavice’s license to practice dentistry in Massachusetts in 2006.

The indictment alleges that, from 2009 to April 2011, Anusavice owned and operated several dental clinics in Connecticut but used a licensed dentist, who is referred to in the indictment as “Co-Conspirator 1,” to act as the nominal head of the dental clinics. The clinics included Landmark Dental in West Haven, Dental Group of Connecticut in Trumbull, and Dental Group of Stamford. After Co-Conspirator 1 provided false Medicaid Provider Enrollment Applications to DSS, which failed to disclose Anusavice’s ownership or control interest in the dental clinics and Anusavice’s disciplinary history, the dental practices received nearly $21 million in Medicaid reimbursements from the Connecticut Medicaid program, which payments were prohibited given Anusavice’s exclusion from the Medicaid program. Anusavice, in turn, received more than $3 million in payments from the clinics through nominee entities that he controlled.

As alleged in a previously filed criminal complaint, at the dental clinics, Anusavice was involved in reviewing patient charts, suggesting dental procedures to be performed, reviewing billing records, reviewing income reports, interviewing and hiring dentists, and providing overall management direction to the offices.

The indictment charges Anusavice with conspiring with others to fraudulently obtain money from the Connecticut Medicaid program by submitting Medicaid claims and concealing and misrepresenting Anusavice’s prior disciplinary and criminal history, his ownership interest in the dental clinics, and his exclusion from the Medicaid program. This charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

The indictment also charges Anusavice with one count of health care fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and two counts of wire fraud, which carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, on each count. Anusavice also is charged with four counts of making false statements involving the Medicaid Program, and one count of concealment and failure to disclose an event affecting the Medicaid Program. Each of these charges carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of Anusavice’s Rhode Island home, his 2008 Mercedes automobile, and $91,700 in cash that was seized at the time of his arrest.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Connecticut Attorney General’s Office provided assistance and cooperation throughout the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Wines and Richard Molot and Special Assistant United States Attorney Sean Beaty. U.S. Attorney Fein encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force at 203-777-6311 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Dental Practice Operators Charged in an Alleged $20 Million Medicaid Fraud Conspiracy

May 25, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Susan J. Waddell, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General for New England; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in New England; and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that Gary F. Anusavice, also known as “Gary Andrews,” “Gary Andrus” and “Gary Francis,” 59, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island; and Mehran Zamani, DDS, 47, of Pound Ridge, New York, were arrested today on federal charges related to their alleged involvement in a $20 million Medicaid fraud scheme.

“As alleged, these operators of dental practices throughout Connecticut defrauded the Medicaid program of more than $20 million over a two-year period,” said U.S. Attorney Fein. “We are committed to protecting American taxpayers from health care fraud, which can increase costs and jeopardize the integrity of our health care system. I want to commend HHS-OIG, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the FBI for their investigative efforts and thank the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, which provided invaluable assistance during the course of this investigation.”

“Although Gary F. Anusavice was barred from Medicare, Medicaid, and other government health programs back in 1998, he allegedly continued to defraud taxpayers by using an elaborate shield of companies and individuals—including Dr. Zamani—to hide his involvement,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Waddle. “Working with federal and state partners, our investigators will penetrate such schemes and help bring suspects to justice.”

“To combat healthcare fraud, IRS Criminal Investigation provides the financial investigative expertise to follow the money trail from the crime to the culprit,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Offord. “We are proud to work with our law enforcement partners to document the financial benefits derived from these fraudulent activities.”

“The FBI views health care fraud as a serious crime problem,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “It degrades the integrity of our health care system and legitimate patient care. Today’s arrests send a clear message to those persons who are defrauding our federal Medicare and Medicaid and private health insurance programs. The FBI remains committed to investigating health care fraud and bringing these individuals to justice. The FBI will continue to work aggressively with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who violate the public trust by stealing taxpayer money. We urge anyone with information regarding health care fraud activity to contact its nearest FBI field office.”

According to court documents, the Medicaid program is a joint federal-state program that provides funds for medical services to lower-income individuals who qualify for benefits. The program is jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and supervised by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In Connecticut, the Medicaid program is administered by the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS).

As alleged in court documents, Anusavice was previously a registered dentist in several states. In July 1997, Anusavice sustained a felony conviction in Massachusetts for submitting false health care claims. Based on that conviction, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified Anusavice in April 1998 that he was being excluded from participation in Medicare and state health care programs, including Medicaid. As part of that notice, Anusavice was informed that, as an excluded individual, he may not “submit claims or cause claims to be submitted” for payment from the federal Medicaid program. Further, Anusavice was advised that Medicaid reimbursement payments are prohibited to any entity in which he serves as an “employee, administrator, operator, or in any other capacity….”

In November 2005, Anusavice surrendered his right to practice dentistry in Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry permanently revoked Anusavice’s license to practice dentistry in Massachusetts in 2006.

The criminal complaint alleges that Anusavice established several dental practices in Connecticut, which were operated by other dentists, including Zamani. These dental practices received millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements from the Connecticut Medicaid program, which payments were prohibited given Anusavice’s exclusion from the Medicaid program. The dental practices operated by Anusavice and Zamani included Landmark Dental in West Haven, Dental Group of Connecticut in Trumbull, and Dental Group of Stamford. Despite his permanent exclusion, Anusavice was involved in reviewing patient charts, suggesting dental procedures to be performed, reviewing billing records, reviewing income reports, interviewing and hiring dentists, and providing overall management direction to the offices.

It is alleged that Anusavice hired Zamani at Landmark Dental in October 2008 and that Zamani soon became aware of Anusavice’s disciplinary history. In January 2009, Zamani submitted a Medicaid Provider Enrollment Application with the DSS in order to obtain a Medicaid provider number for Mehran Zamani LLC, listing his group practice name as Landmark Dental. In May 2009, Zamani submitted an application with the DSS for a Medicaid provider number for Landmark Dental. In the applications Zamani submitted, he failed to disclose that Anusavice had an ownership or control interest in Landmark Dental, even though Zamani knew that Anusavice was running the practice and profited from it. From approximately February 2009 to March 2011, Mehran Zamani LLC and Landmark Dental received more than $12.9 million in Medicaid reimbursement payments.

It is further alleged that in April 2009, Zamani and “Haven Consulting,” an entity Anusavice created, entered into a Business Consultant Contract for the Dental Group of Stamford, a practice that Zamani had operated previously. Although the contract provided that Haven Consulting was a “business consultant” to the Dental Group of Stamford, Anusavice had an ownership interest in the practice and acted in an ownership and managerial capacity. Zamani’s DSS application in May 2009 failed to disclose Anusavice’s involvement in the practice and his disciplinary history. From approximately June 2009 to March 2011, the Dental Group of Stamford received more than $4.4 million in Medicaid reimbursement payments.

It is further alleged that Zamani’s April 2010 DSS application for a Medicaid provider number for the Dental Group of Connecticut also failed to disclose Anusavice’s involvement in the practice. From approximately August 2010 to March 2011, the Dental Group of Connecticut received more than $3.5 million in Medicaid reimbursement payments.

It is further alleged that on April 13, 2011, the DSS suspended Medicaid payments to Mehran Zamani, DDS, Landmark Dental, Dental Group of Stamford, and Dental Group of Connecticut based upon a pending investigation of a credible allegation of fraud. As a result, the last Medicaid payment to any of these entities occurred on or about March 22, 2011. By that time, it is alleged that the Anusavice-Zamani entities had collectively received nearly $21 million in Medicaid reimbursement funds. Further, according to Zamani’s accountant’s records, between February 2009 and March 2011, Anusavice-controlled entities received more than $3 million in payments from Zamani-related entities.

It is further alleged that Anusavice and another dentist are now operating a new set of dental clinics, doing business as Alpha Dental Group in Cromwell, Dental Group of New Britain, and Hartford Dental Care. Between November 2011 and March 2012, Arbor Dental has received more than $2.6 million in Medicaid funds. Anusavice also has recently reopened a dental practice at the former location of Dental Care of Connecticut in Trumbull.

Anusavice was arrested this morning at his home in North Kingstown, Rhode Island on a federal criminal complaint charging him with conspiring to commit health care fraud, committing health care fraud, and making false statements involving federal health care programs. Zamani was arrested today at his home in New York on a criminal complaint charging him with the same offenses. Both appeared this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport.

In association with today’s arrests, investigating agencies conducted court-authorized searches of Anusavice’s Rhode Island residence and dental clinics he is allegedly operating in New Britain and Trumbull.

The government also has filed a civil forfeiture complaint against the real property located at 229 Potter Road, North Kingstown, Rhode Island, an 8,145 square foot home on 9.66 acres of land, where Anusavice resides. The forfeiture complaint alleges that this property was purchased in February 2011 for $695,000 by AMZ Consulting Inc., a nominee entity controlled by Anusavice and that proceeds used to purchase the property stem from Anusavice’s alleged Medicaid fraud scheme.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Connecticut Attorney General’s Office provided assistance and cooperation throughout the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Wines and Richard Molot, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Sean Beaty. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island and Assistant United States Attorney Paul Daly have provided valuable assistance.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Twenty-Two Detroit-Area Residents Charged in Nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown

May 3, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 2, 2012 released the following:

Total of 107 Defendants Charged in Seven Cities for Approximately $452 Million in False Billing

DETROIT—Twenty-two Detroit-area residents were charged today for their roles in psychotherapy, home health care, and infusion therapy schemes to submit more than $58 million in false billing to Medicare, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. Including these charges, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in Detroit have charged a total of 164 individuals in cases involving approximately $244 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare.

The charges in Detroit are part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities that led to charges against 107 individuals for their alleged participation in schemes to collectively submit more than $452 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare. This takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billing in a single takedown in strike force history.

“The results we are announcing today are at the heart of an administration-wide commitment to protecting American taxpayers from health care fraud, which can drive up costs and threaten the strength and integrity of our health care system,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “We are determined to bring to justice those who violate our laws and defraud the Medicare program for personal gain. As today’s takedown reflects, our ongoing fight against health care fraud has never been more coordinated and effective.”

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade stated, “A disturbing new trend we are seeing is the exploitation of adults in foster care. Providers bill Medicare for home health and psychotherapy services for disabled adults that are unnecessary or not provided.”

“Those who seek to steal from Medicare and exploit the system will be vigorously pursued and brought to justice,” stated Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division Andrew G. Arena. “These arrests are the result of a tremendous amount of hard work by FBI and HHS-OIG agents.”

“Today’s indictments and arrests in the areas of home health care, psychotherapy, or infusion therapy fraud demonstrate that HHS-OIG agents will untangle even the most complex fraud schemes and hold those responsible accountable for their criminal actions,” said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General for the Chicago Region, which includes Detroit. “Through collaboration with our law enforcement partners, HHS-OIG will bring to justice those who waste Medicare’s limited resources and prevent the most vulnerable members of our society from receiving vital health care services.”

Court documents unsealed today in the Eastern District of Michigan charge defendants including owners and operators of companies, social workers, office employees, and patient recruiters with submitting fraudulent claims for services that were never rendered. Eighteen of the defendants were either arrested this morning or will be self surrendering this week and four defendants remain at large. In addition, law enforcement agents today executed search warrants at nine locations and seizure warrants of 14 bank accounts related to the alleged fraud schemes. The following charges were unsealed:

United States v. Rahman, et al.

Five individuals were charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud for their roles in a $13.8 million scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting fraudulent claims for home health care services. One of the defendants was also charged with conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks to refer Medicare beneficiaries for the fraudulent services. The indictment alleges that the fraudulent claims were submitted by four home health agencies operating in Livonia, Michigan: Physicians Choice Home Health Care, LLC; First Care Home Health Care, LLC; Quantum Home Care, Inc.; and Moonlite Home Care, Inc.

The defendants charged in the superseding indictment are: Bilal Akbar, 49, formerly of Canton, Michigan; Joann Terrell, 49, of Detroit; Madhur Thawani, 27, of Auburn Hills, Michigan; Shahzad Mirza, 41, of Canton, Michigan; and Ankit Patel, 27, of Plymouth, Michigan.

United States v. Mehmood, et al.

Two individuals were charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud for their roles in a $33 million scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting fraudulent claims for home health care services, as well as conspiracy to pay or receive illegal kickbacks. The indictment alleges that the fraudulent claims were submitted by four home health agencies operating in Ypsilanti, Michigan and Detroit, Michigan: Access Care Home Care, Inc.; Patient Care Home Care, Inc.; Hands On Healing Home Care, Inc.; All State Home Care, Inc.

The defendants charged in the superseding indictment are: Badar Ahmadani, 45, of Ypsilanti Michigan and Falusic Ashford, 47 of Detroit, Michigan.

United States v. Sharma, et al.

Four individuals were charged in an indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud for their roles in a $23 million scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting fraudulent claims for home health care services and psychotherapy services. Three of the individuals were also charged with conspiring to pay or receive illegal kickbacks. The indictment alleges that the fraudulent claims were submitted by three home health agencies and an adult day care center. The home health agencies operating in Madison Heights, Michigan and Sterling Heights, Michigan are: Reliance Home Care, LLC; First Choice Home Health Care Services, Inc.; and Associates in Home Care, Inc. The adult day care center operating in Detroit Michigan is Haven Adult Day Care Center, LLC.

The defendants charged in the indictment are: Sachin Sharma, 36, of Shelby Township, Michigan; Dana Sharma, 29, of Shelby Township, Michigan; Abdul Malik Al- Jumail, aka “Tony,” 52, of Brownstown, Michigan; and Felicar Williams, 49, of Dearborn, Michigan.

United States v. English, et al.

Six individuals were charged in an indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud for their roles in a $2.8 million scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting fraudulent claims for psychotherapy services. Two of the defendants are also charged with additional health care fraud counts. The indictment alleges that the fraudulent claims were submitted by an adult day care center operating in Flint, Michigan: New Century Adult Day Program Services, LLC.

The defendants charged in the indictment are: Glenn English, 52, of Detroit, Michigan; Gregory Lawrence, 54, of Detroit, Michigan; Richard Hogan, 65, of Flint, Michigan; Donald Berry, 65, of Detroit, Michigan; Felicia Marsh, 44, of Detroit, Michigan; and Jamie Moreau, 34, of Davison, Michigan.

United States v. Thompson, et al.

Two individuals were charged in an indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and additional counts of health care fraud for their roles in a $20 million scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting fraudulent claims for psychotherapy services. The indictment alleges that the fraudulent claims were submitted by two psychotherapy clinics and an adult day care center operating in Detroit, Michigan: TGW Medical, Inc.; Caldwell Thompson Manor, Inc. And P&C Adult Day Care Center, LLC.

The defendants charged in the indictment are: Louisa Thompson, 62, of Detroit, Michigan and Checarol Robinson, 41, of New Baltimore, Michigan.

United States v. Edwards, et al.

Two individuals were charged in an indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and additional counts of health care fraud for their roles in a $3 million scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting fraudulent claims for psychotherapy services. The indictment alleges that the fraudulent claims were submitted by a psychotherapy clinic operating in Southfield, Michigan and Detroit, Michigan: Funderburg Clinical and Community Services, Inc.

The defendants charged in the indictment are: Sanyani Edwards, 32, of Taylor, Michigan and Angel Williams, 27, of Southfield, Michigan.

United States v. Raymond Arias

Raymond Arias, 40, of Troy, Michigan was charged in an indictment with six counts of health care fraud for his leading role in a $12.5 million scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting fraudulent claims for infusion therapy treatments. The fraudulent claims were submitted by Arias’s clinic Elite Wellness, LLC, operating in Westland, Michigan.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.

Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

The cases announced today are being prosecuted and investigated by Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams comprised of attorneys from the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of Florida, the Eastern District of Michigan, the Southern District of Texas, the Central District of California, the Middle District of Louisiana; the Northern District of Illinois, and the Middle District of Florida; and agents from the FBI, HHS-OIG, and state Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

The cases in the Eastern District of Michigan are being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Gejaa T. Gobena and Trial Attorneys Catherine K. Dick and William G. Kanellis of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant United States Attorney Philip Ross of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Fifty-Nine South Florida Residents Charged as Part of Nationwide Coordinated Takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force Operations

May 3, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 2, 2012 released the following:

107 Individuals Charged Nationally for Submitting Approximately $452 Million in Fraudulent Billing; South Florida Responsible for more than $137 Million in False Billings

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Miami Division, announced that 59 South Florida residents were charged for their alleged participation in various schemes to defraud Medicare out of more than $137 million. The charges in South Florida are part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities that resulted in charges against 107 individuals, including doctors, nurses and other licensed professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $452 million in false billing. This coordinated takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in strike force history.

The joint Department of Justice and HHS Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a multi-agency team of federal, state, and local investigators designed to combat Medicare fraud. Approximately 400 law enforcement agents from the FBI, HHS-OIG, multiple Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and other state and local law enforcement agencies participated in the national takedown.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The Medicare program is a valuable and limited trust fund to provide much needed services for the poor, the elderly and the sick. Among the dozens of fraudsters charged in South Florida in this operation are clinic owners, nurses, therapists, patient recruiters, pharmacy owners, accountants, former social workers, and even beneficiaries, all of whom stole precious health care dollars through a variety of schemes. These get rich quick schemes at the expense of the most vulnerable in our society are unacceptable. We will continue to fight health care fraud on all fronts: we will prosecute each link in the fraud chain and each evolving fraud scheme.”

“The results we are announcing today are at the heart of an administration-wide commitment to protecting American taxpayers from health care fraud, which can drive up costs and threaten the strength and integrity of our health care system,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “We are determined to bring to justice those who violate our laws and defraud the Medicare program for personal gain. As today’s takedown reflects, our ongoing fight against health care fraud has never been more coordinated and effective.”

“More than half of those charged in a record setting health care fraud takedown today were from the Miami area. The local fraud totaled more than $137 million. Sadly, in Miami, multi-million-dollar health care fraud cases are no longer shocking in their magnitude or frequency,” said John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Office. “Here’s my message clear and simple: you can run, but as evidenced by today’s nationwide takedown, you can’t hide.”

“Medicare fraud diverts precious resources from those who are eligible and need it most,” said Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s region covering Florida. “Today’s action should send a strong message that we will continue to track the evidence to ensure that those involved are held accountable.”

U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Henry Gutierrez stated, “Medicare fraud is an assault on resources for our most needy and vulnerable citizens. This joint effort by the South Florida law enforcement community demonstrates that those who engage in these illegal schemes will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The South Florida defendants are accused of various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes and money laundering. The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services such as home health care, mental health services, and physical and occupational therapy. According to court documents, the defendants allegedly participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and oftentimes never provided. In many cases, court documents allege that patient recruiters, Medicare beneficiaries and other co-conspirators were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, so that the providers could submit fraudulent billing to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary or never provided.

Specifically, the South Florida cases announced as part of the nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force takedown include:

U.S. v. Odalys Fernandez, Kelvin Soto, Yumidia Naranjo, Jose Guerra, Yanuris Lima, and Servando Raya, Case No. 12-20230-CR-Ungaro

In this six-defendant case, two registered nurses employed by Ideal Home Health (Odalys Fernandez and Kelvin Soto) are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud for purportedly providing services, such as skilled nursing and physical therapy, to homebound beneficiaries. In fact, however, the services were either medically unnecessary or were never provided. As part of the scheme, the defendants falsified medical paperwork to make it appear as if they had provided the services. Four other defendants (Yumidia Naranjo, Jose Guerra, Yanuris Lima, and Servando Raya) are alleged to be patient recruiters who paid Medicare beneficiaries so they would serve as patients at Ideal Home Health. Ideal, in turn, submitted more than $40 million in false billings to Medicare. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Bernstein.

U.S. v. Eulises Escalona, Case No. 12-20293-CR-Lenard

This indictment charges Eulises Escalona with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to receive and pay health care kickbacks, and five counts of payment of health care kickbacks stemming from a $42 million home health care fraud scheme. According to the indictment, Escalona owned and operated Willsand Home Health, Inc. (Willsand), a home health agency that purportedly provided home health and physical therapy services to eligible Medicare beneficiaries. In fact, however, from January 2006 through November 2009, Escalona and others paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries to induce them to become patients at Willsand regardless of medical need and to falsely attest that they had received the purported services. In addition, Escalona and others paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and to doctors who signed fraudulent prescriptions and plans of care (POCs) for unnecessary home health services for patients at Willsand. To execute the scheme, Escalona and others falsified patient files and POCs to make it appear as if the patients had qualified for and actually received home health services. In this way, Willsand allegedly submitted approximately $42 million in false claims to Medicare for services it claimed to have provided to approximately 622 beneficiaries. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph S. Beemsterboer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Rodolfo Nieto, Jr., Case No. 12-20290-CR-Altonaga

This indictment charges Rodolfo Nieto, Jr., owner and operator of Ronat Home Health Care, Inc. (Ronat), with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to receive and pay health care kickbacks and three counts of receipt of kickbacks for his participation in a $60 million home health care fraud scheme. According to the indictment, from January 2006 through November 2009, Nieto accepted kickbacks in return for recruiting Medicare beneficiaries for placement at Nany Home Health, Inc. (Nany). Nieto allegedly caused Nany to submit claims to Medicare for home health services, including insulin injections and physical therapy, purportedly provided through Ronat. According to the indictment, Nany submitted approximately $60 million in false claims to the Medicare program for services that it purportedly provided to approximately 1474 beneficiaries. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph S. Beemsterboer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Maggie Leon, Yuderkis Pena Garcia and Eduardo Vilau, Case No. 12-20274-CR-Seitz

In this case, defendants Maggie Leon, Yuderkis Pena Garcia, and Eduardo Vilau, owners of Leon Medical and Leah Medical, were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud for submitting false claims to private insurance companies that were Medicare Advantage contractors under Part C of the Medicare program. As alleged in the indictment, the defendants submitted approximately $1,826,000 in false claims for expensive cancer and HIV injections that were not medically necessary and were not actually provided to the Medicare beneficiaries. In addition, the indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to pay kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries so that they would serve as patients at Leah and Leon. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Clark.

U.S. v. Ricardo Martinez, Case No. 12-20316-CR-Martinez

This indictment charges defendant Ricardo Martinez with health care fraud and paying kickbacks to patients. The indictment alleges that the defendant paid kickbacks and bribes to beneficiaries so that they would serve as patients at Rima Medical. The indictment further alleges that Martinez, through Rima Medical, submitted approximately $1,706,701 in false claims for expensive cancer and HIV injections to private insurance companies that were Medicare Advantage contractors under Part C of the Medicare program. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Clark.

U.S. v. Yaquelin Colls, Pedro Colls, and Jesus Fernandez, Case No. 12-20315-CR-Seitz

This indictment charges defendants Yaquelin Colls, Pedro Colls, and Jesus Fernandez with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, substantive health care fraud, conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks, and substantive charges of paying kickbacks. More specifically, the indictment alleges that the defendants owned and operated Ma Medical and Therapy Services, Inc. (Ma Medical), and caused the submission of $972,068 in false medical claims for expensive cancer and HIV injections to a private insurance company that was a Medicare Advantage provider under Part C of the Medicare program. In a similar scheme, the defendants submitted $55,642 in false claims to another private insurance company under Part C of the Medicare program through a second clinic, Healthy Touch Rehab Center Inc. (Healthy Touch), which they also owned and operated at the same address as Ma Medical. The indictment further alleges that the defendants conspired to pay kickbacks and bribes to beneficiaries so that they would serve as patients at Ma Medical and Healthy Touch. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Clark.

U.S. v. Roberto L. Valdes Gonzalez, Francisca Gema Valdez, Gilberto Faure, and Alberto Sotolongo, Case No. 12-20275-CR-Moore

In this case, defendants Jose L. Valdes Gonzalez, a/k/a “Roberto Gonzalez,” Alberto Sotolongo, a/k/a “Ruben,” Gilberto Faure, and Francisca Gema Valdes were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and substantive counts of health care fraud in connection with the operation of Ilva Pharmacy, Inc. More specifically, the indictment alleges that between 2009 and 2011, the defendants caused Ilva Pharmacy to submit approximately $1.3 million in false claims for prescription drugs that were not provided to Medicare and private insurance companies that were Medicare Advantage contractors under Part D of the Medicare program. The indictment additionally charges Gonzalez and Sotolongo with offering and paying kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries to induce them to serve as patients at Ilva Pharmacy. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Couriel.

U.S. v. Alina De Armas, Case No. 12-20282-CR-Zloch

In this case, defendant Alina De Armas is charged with health care fraud and with paying kickbacks to patients. The information alleges that De Armas offered and paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries to induce them to serve as patients at Ultratech Medical Supplies, Inc., d/b/a Guines Pharmacy. In this way, from 2007 through 2011, De Armas caused the submission through Guines Pharmacy of approximately $3.6 million in false claims for prescription drugs to Medicare and private insurance companies that were Medicare Advantage contractors under Part D of the Medicare program. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Couriel.

U.S. v. Isaura Bou-Melendez and Gricel Font, Case No. 12-20113-CR-MGC

In this case, Isaura Bou-Melendez and Gricel Font are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Bou and Font, licensed therapists, owned and operated a comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility, Font & Bou Rehab Associates, Inc. The information alleges that from January 2006 through February 2010, Font and Bou allegedly submitted approximately $6.9 million in false claims to Medicare for physical and occupational therapy services that were not medically necessary or not provided as claimed. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Juenger.

U.S. v. Maritza Claudia Fernanda Lorza Ramirez, and James Arley Velasco Gonzalez, Case No. 12-60090-CR-KMW

This indictment charges defendants Maritza Lorza Ramirez and James Velasco Gonzalez with conspiracy to commit money laundering and substantive counts of money laundering. More specifically, the indictment alleges that between January 2006 and December 2010, Lorza and Velasco laundered approximately $3 million in health care fraud proceeds for several companies using their own corporations, including Celebration Home Services, Inc., 4 All Your Needs, Inc., VPP Staffing, Inc, and Work Force Innovations, Inc. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Juenger.

U.S. v. Orlando Conrado Piedra Jr., Case No. 12-60091-CR-KMW

This indictment charges Orlando Piedra, an accountant, with conspiracy to commit money laundering and substantive counts of money laundering. More specifically, the indictment alleges that between June 2007 and September 2009, Piedra laundered approximately $500,000 in health care fraud proceeds for several companies through his own company, Media Health Consultants, Inc. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Juenger.

U.S. v. Armando “Manny” Gonzalez, John Thoen, Wondera Eason, Paul Thomas Layman, Alexandra Haynes, Serena Joslin, Ivon Perez, Daniel Martinez, Raymond Rivero, Case No. 12-20291-CR-Altonaga

Armando “Manny” Gonzalez, John Thoen, Wondera Eason, Paul Thomas Layman, Alexandra Haynes, and Serena Joslin are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud through a company called Health Care Solutions Network (HCSN). Additionally, defendants Gonzalez, Daniel Martinez, Raymond Rivero, and Ivon Perez are charged with conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks; defendants Martinez, Rivero, and Perez are charged with substantive counts of soliciting and receiving health care kickbacks; defendants Gonzalez and Thoen are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; and defendant Gonzalez is charged with substantive counts of money laundering. More specifically, the indictment alleges that between November 2004 and March 2011, Gonzalez, Thoen, Eason, Layman, Haynes, and Joslin conspired to submit approximately $63 million in false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for mental health services that were neither necessary nor provided. The indictment also alleges that Gonzalez conspired with owners of Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs), including Martinez, Rivero, and Perez to pay and receive health care kickbacks in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries to HCSN. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steven Kim of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Sarah Da Silva Keller, Case No. 12-20289-CR-Cooke

Sarah Da Silva Keller is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. More specifically, the criminal information alleges that between April 2006 and February 2008, Keller conspired with others at HCSN to submit false claims to Medicare for mental health services that were neither medically necessary nor provided. The information further alleges that HCSN submitted approximately $63 million in false claims to Medicare. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steven Kim of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Alba Serrano, Case No. 12-20285-CR-Seitz

Alba Serrano is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The criminal information alleges that Serrano, the owner of Elsa’s House of the Elderly, a Miami-Dade ALF, referred residents from her ALF to American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC) in exchange for kickbacks. ATC was a Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) that submitted false claims for intensive mental health services, called Partial Hospitalization Program, based on Serrano’s Medicare beneficiary referrals. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steven Kim of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Bobby Ramnarine, Case No. 12-20288-CR-Middlebrooks

Bobby Ramnarine is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The criminal information alleges that Ramnarine, the owner of Elmina’s ALF, in Broward County, recruited residents from Elmina’s to become patients at ATC in exchange for kickbacks. ATC submitted false claims for PHP services based on Ramnarine’s Medicare beneficiary referrals. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steven Kim of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Giuseppe Pellerito, Case No. 12-20292-CR-Cooke

In this case, defendant Giuseppe Pellerito is charged with conspiracy to receive health care kickbacks and substantive counts of receiving kickbacks. The indictment alleges that Pellerito, the owner of Florida Sober House (FSH), received kickbacks for recruiting residents from FSH to become patients at ATC. ATC, in turn, submitted false claims for PHP based on Pellerito’s referrals. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steven Kim of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Hassan Collins, Case No. 12-20286-CR-Moore

Hassan Collins is charged with one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks. According to the criminal information, Collins was the owner of New Way Recovery Inc. (NWR), which operated several halfway houses in Broward County. Collins allegedly received kickbacks for recruiting Medicare beneficiaries who resided at NWR to become patients at ATC. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steven Kim of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Jean Luc Veraguas, Case No. 12-20287-CR-Moreno

Jean-Luc Veraguas is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The criminal information alleges that Veraguas was the owner of Neu Ways Inc., which operated several halfway houses in Broward County. Veraguas allegedly referred residents at his houses to ATC in exchange for kickbacks. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steven Kim of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

U.S. v. Pablo Orama, Vivian Augustine, a/k/a Vivian Salazar, Ariane Marchioro Amorim, Jose Orelvis Ortega, Marlen Diosdada Garcia, Ivon Perez, Marianela Terrero, Jose Abreu-Gonzalez, Elba M. Caicedo, Carlos A. Herrera, Marisela Sherwood, Nancy Diaz, Daymi Fuentes Gil, Olga Martinez Rodriguez, Yuria Perez Rivero, and Joel Loyola, Case No. 12-20265-CR-Middlebrooks(s)

In this case, 16 defendants are charged with conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks and substantive counts of paying and receiving kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program. According to the indictment, defendant Pablo Orama was the owner of Superstar Home Health, a Miami-Dade County home health agency that purportedly provided skilled nursing services and physical therapy to homebound Medicare beneficiaries. Vivian Augustine and Ariane Amorim were employees of the company. Jose Orelvis Ortega, Marlen Garcia, Ivon Perez, Marianela Terrero, Jose Abreu-Gonzalez, Elba Caicedo, Carlos Herrera, Marisela Sherwood, and Nancy Diaz were recruiters who offered money to Medicare beneficiaries in return for their agreement to serve as patients at Superstar. Defendants Daymi Fuentes Gil, Olga Rodriguez, Yuria Rivero, and Joel Loyola were Medicare beneficiaries who accepted kickbacks in return for agreeing to serve as patients at Superstar. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric E. Morales.

U.S. v. Jorge Luis Reyes and Waldo Gonzalez, Case No. 12-14030-CR-Moore

This indictment charges Jorge Luis Reyes and Waldo Gonzalez, owners of a medical clinic that purported to treat HIV-positive Medicare beneficiaries at locations in Miami-Dade and St. Lucie Counties. According to the indictment, between November 2005 and January 2009, the defendants submitted approximately $15,201,162 in fraudulent claims to Medicare for treatment that was not provided, and in many cases would not have been medically necessary. The majority of the fraudulent claims (more than $13.6 million) were submitted to private insurance companies that were a Medicare Advantage contractor under Part C of the Medicare program. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Osborne.

U.S. v. Manotte Bazile, Case No. 12-20284-CR-Lenard

Defendant Manotte Bazile, a former social worker and licensed intern at Biscayne Milieu, was charged with health care fraud conspiracy for purportedly treating patients who did not qualify for PHP treatment. This case is part of larger indictment involving of Biscayne Milieu, a CMHC that was involved in the submission of $57 million in false claims to Medicare for purportedly providing PHP services to Medicare beneficiaries who did not qualify for or receive the treatments that were billed to Medicare. In this case, Bazile assisted non-U.S. citizen patients by completing immigration forms on their behalf that falsely indicated that the patients suffered from mental illnesses, thereby fraudulently enabling the patients to avoid taking the citizenship test. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Shick.

U.S. v. Roselyn Nicole Charles, Case No. 12-20283-CR-Ungaro

Defendant Roselyn Nicole Charles, a former patient recruiter at Biscayne Milieu, was charged with conspiracy to pay health care fraud kickbacks. More specifically, the criminal information alleges that Charles recruited patients to participate in Biscayne Milieu’s PHP in exchange for kickbacks. These patients, who did not qualify for PHP treatment, were promised assistance with their U.S. citizenship applications in exchange for their participation in Biscayne Milieu’s PHP. This case is part of larger indictment of Biscayne Milieu, a CMHC that was involved in the submission of more than $57 million in false claims to Medicare for purportedly providing PHP services to Medicare beneficiaries who did not qualify for PHP treatment or receive the treatments that were billed to Medicare. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Shick.

The cases announced today are being prosecuted and investigated by Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams comprised of attorneys from the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of Florida, the Eastern District of Michigan, the Southern District of Texas, the Central District of California, the Middle District of Louisiana; the Northern District of Illinois, and the Middle District of Florida; and agents from the FBI, HHS-OIG, and state Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. Miami was the first Strike force city in the nation, and the model for others that followed.

An indictment or information is only an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Eight Los Angeles-Area Residents Charged in an Alleged Medicare Fraud

May 2, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 2, 2012 released the following:

“Eight Los Angeles-Area Residents Charged in Nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown

Total of 107 Defendants Charged in Seven Cities for Approximately $452 Million in False Billing

LOS ANGELES—Eight Los Angeles-area residents, including two doctors, were charged today for their roles in schemes to submit more than $14 million in false billing to Medicare, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).

The charges in Los Angeles are part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities that led to charges against 107 individuals for their alleged participation in schemes to collectively submit more than $452 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare. This takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billing in a single takedown in strike force history.

“The results we are announcing today are at the heart of an Administration-wide commitment to protecting American taxpayers from health care fraud, which can drive up costs and threaten the strength and integrity of our health care system,” said United States Attorney General Eric Holder. “We are determined to bring to justice those who violate our laws and defraud the Medicare program for personal gain. As today’s takedown reflects, our ongoing fight against health care fraud has never been more coordinated and effective.”

“Medicare fraud drains vital resources and harms consumers across the nation,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The problem is national in scope and it calls out for the type of coordinated national response that today’s crackdown represents. This office is dedicated to working with all our partners, both locally and nationally, to protect this important public program that serves our elderly and disabled.”

“As today’s strike force operation demonstrates, health care fraud is not limited to just one or two types of health care providers,” said Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Region of HHS’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). “Whether it is a physician, a business owner, or any other provider, OIG and our law enforcement partners are committed to pursuing those that attempt to steal precious dollars from the Medicare program.”

According to court documents filed in the Central District of California, two Orange County doctors and two of their co-schemers were charged for allegedly submitting nearly $5.7 million in false claims to Medicare for durable medical equipment (DME). Specifically, the defendants billed Medicare for enteral nutrition, a liquid nutritional supplement. Medicare will only pay for enteral nutrition if a patient has a feeding tube. According to the indictment, Dr. Augustus Ohemeng, 62, of Buena Park, and Dr. George Tarryk, 72, of Seal Beach, wrote fraudulent prescriptions for enteral nutrition for patients who did not have feeding tubes. Co-defendant George Samuel Laing, 41, of Sylmar, who managed the clinic where Tarryk and Ohemeng practiced, allegedly received kickbacks in exchange for referring the prescriptions to Ivy Medical Supply, owned by co-defendant Emmanuel Chidueme, 59, of Mira Loma. Ivy then fraudulently billed Medicare for the enteral nutrition, even though it was not medically necessary and was not delivered to patients in the quantities billed to Medicare. Ohemeng, Tarryk, Laing, and Chidueme were arrested this morning and are scheduled to make their initial appearances before a U.S. Magistrate Judge this afternoon.

“The charges announced today emphasize disturbing health care fraud trends, including the arrest of physicians, that exploit federal health care meant for those in need,” said Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The cases charged in Southern California and around the U.S. indicate the staggering amount of fraud adversely affecting the U.S. economy and illustrate the need for the continued focus on protecting federally funded health care programs.”

In a separate case, two defendants were arrested on charges related to their DME company, Latay Medical Services, which allegedly submitted more than $8 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare for power wheelchairs, orthotics, and hospital beds that were either not provided or were medically unnecessary. The indictment charges Latay’s owner, Bolademi Adetola, 46, of Harbor City, and Latay employee Yuri Martin Lopez, 46, of Lawndale, with obtaining fraudulent prescriptions for the DME, creating fake documentation to make it seem as though the DME had been delivered when it had not, and delivering DME less expensive than that listed on Latay’s Medicare claims.

Two additional defendants are scheduled to self-surrender today on charges related to Greatcare Home Health Inc., a home health agency that received more than $5.4 million from Medicare for skilled nursing and physical therapy services that were often either never performed or performed by unlicensed individuals. Greatcare’s owner, Hee Jung Mun, also paid illegal kickbacks to doctors, individuals known as marketers, and patients themselves in order to recruit Medicare beneficiaries. Mun, along with three other Greatcare employees, have already pleaded guilty to the fraud and are awaiting sentencing before U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson. Yeong Ja Lee, 50, of Mid-City, is scheduled to make her initial court appearance this afternoon on charges that she visited and provided services to patients without a license and created false documentation for Greatcare and one of its referring doctors. Sang Whan Ahn, 60, of Koreatown, is also scheduled to appear on charges that she acted as a marketer, accepting kickbacks in exchange for referring patients to Greatcare.

As a part of the operation, members of the strike force in Los Angeles also executed three search warrants today.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.

Since their inception in March 2007, strike force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

The cases announced today are being prosecuted and investigated by Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams comprised of attorneys from the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Central District of California, the Southern District of Florida, the Eastern District of Michigan, the Southern District of Texas, the Middle District of Louisiana, the Northern District of Illinois, and the Middle District of Florida; and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, HHS-OIG, and state and local Medicaid Fraud Control Units, including the California Department of Justice and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force.

An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

To learn more about HEAT, go to: http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

CONTACT:
Assistant United States Attorney Kristen A. Williams
Major Frauds Section
(213) 894-0526

Special Assistant United States Attorney Grant Gelberg
Major Frauds Section
(213) 894-2872

Assistant United States Attorney Consuelo S. Woodhead
Major Frauds Section
(213) 894-3987″

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Eighteen Charged for Alleged Medicare Fraud Schemes in Detroit Involving $28 Million in False Billings

September 1, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 1, 2011 released the following:

“DETROIT—Eighteen individuals were charged in court documents unsealed today and yesterday in the Eastern District of Michigan for their participation in a series of separate Medicare fraud schemes involving home health and psychotherapy services, announced the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the FBI and the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

According to court documents unsealed today and yesterday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the separate schemes allegedly involved a total of more than $28 million in fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary and/or never provided. Fifteen of the defendants were arrested this morning, one defendant was arrested in July 2011, and two defendants remain at large. In addition, law enforcement agents today executed search warrants at 11 locations and seizure warrants of 28 bank accounts related to the alleged fraud schemes.

Including these charges, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in Detroit have charged a total of 138 individuals in cases involving approximately $148 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare.

“Today we have charged physicians, nurses, clinic owners and other medical professionals for submitting millions of dollars in false claims to Medicare,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. “According to court documents, these defendants paid kickbacks to beneficiaries and others, and falsified medical documents in order to deceive the Medicare program. As our strike force efforts have consistently shown, we will not allow criminals to steal from government health care programs.”

“Health care providers should be aware that the days of stealing from Medicare with impunity are over,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan. “We are relentlessly investigating and prosecuting those who seek to profit from false claims for services that are medically unnecessary or, in some instances, not provided at all.”

“Health care fraud affects every American,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena. “As Americans live longer, health care costs are expected to rise. The FBI, together with its federal, state, and local partners, is working aggressively to pursue health care fraud criminals and bring them to justice.”

“The Medicare Fraud Strike Force in Detroit continues to demonstrate a concentrated and sustained effort in combating health care fraud,” said Lamont Pugh III, HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge of regional operations. “The Office of Inspector General will continue to work with our strike force partners to focus a spotlight on those who attack the Medicare program and ensure that they are held accountable.”

“These arrests are good news for American taxpayers and a powerful warning to health care ripoff artists,” said Donald M. Berwick, M.D., Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “In this instance, the system worked as it should: Medicare detected suspicious behavior and got the information quickly to law enforcement for appropriate follow-up. Together with our law enforcement partners, we helped minimize the theft of taxpayer dollars and maximize criminal consequences to thieves. CMS will continue to relentlessly pursue fraudsters across the country and aggressively feed leads to our law enforcement partners.”

Fourteen individuals are charged in one indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud for their roles in a $14 million scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting fraudulent claims for home health care services. The defendants include three physicians, four clinic owners and managers, two clinic employees, one nurse, and four physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. According to court documents, the conspiracy was operated out of multiple home health agencies located in Livonia, Mich., including Physicians Choice Home Health Care LLC, First Care Home Health Care LLC, Quantum Home Care Inc. and Moonlite Home Care Inc.

In a separate complaint unsealed today, a physician and two other individuals are charged with health care fraud and the submission of false claims in connection with an approximately $11.5 million scheme to defraud the Medicare program. The scheme allegedly involved false billings for individual and group psychotherapy services at two clinics located in Detroit, Quality Recreation and Rehabilitation Inc. and Procare Rehabilitation Inc. According to court documents, the defendants billed Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary and/or never provided.

In another indictment unsealed yesterday, the owner of a medical clinic located in Southfield, Mich., was charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud and identity theft for a scheme allegedly involving $2.9 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare. According to court documents, the clinic owner is alleged to have used the identities of Medicare providers and beneficiaries to bill for psychotherapy services that were medically unnecessary and never performed.

Defendants charged include: Gerald R. Funderburg Jr., 31, of Southfield, Mich.; Marcus Jenkins, 49, of Farmington Hills, Mich.; Elizabeth Jenkins, 47, of Farmington Hills; Dr. Alphonso Berry, 50, of Orchard, Mich.; Tausif Rahman, 36, of Canton, Mich.; Zahir Yousafzai, 41, of Canton, Mich.; Javed Rehman, 48, of Farmington Hills; Muhammad aka “Sib” Ahmad, 33, of Ypsilanti, Mich.; Jawad Ahmad, 41, of Ypsilanti, Mich.; Dr. Dwight Smith, 58, of Detroit; Dr. Paul Kelly, 74, of Bath, Mich.; Rehan Khan, 38, of Canton, Mich.; Nabeel Shaikh, 29, of Wixom, Mich.; Janaki Chettiar, 36, of Farmington Hills; Jigar Patel, 27, of Madison Heights, Mich.; Anthony Parkman, 40, of Southfield; Hetal Barot, 28, of Canton; and Srinivas Reddy aka “Dr. Reddy”, 35, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

The charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Arena of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Pugh of the HHS-OIG Office of Investigation.

The cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Gejaa T. Gobena and Catherine K. Dick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The investigations were conducted jointly by the FBI and HHS-OIG, as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since their inception in March 2007, the strike force operations in nine districts have charged more than 1000 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Indictments and criminal complaints contain merely charges and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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