A federal jury in Detroit today convicted a home health agency owner and a physical therapist for their participation in a $2.3 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan; Robert D. Foley III, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI 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 (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Detroit Office.
Mehran Javidan, 52, was found guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, three counts of making false statements related to health care matters, and one count of conspiracy to solicit or pay health care kickbacks in exchange for referrals of patients to a Detroit-area home health care company, Acure Home Care Inc.
Vishnu Meda, 32, a physical therapist, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, two counts of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements relating to health care matters.
The jury found Javidan not guilty of one count of making false statements and one count of health care fraud, and did not reach a verdict on one additional count of health care fraud. Meda was found not guilty of one count of making false statements and one count of health care fraud.
The defendants were charged in a superseding indictment returned Nov. 29, 2012. Another individual charged in the indictment remains a fugitive.
According to evidence presented at trial, Javidan owned and operated Acure Home Care Inc., a home health care company in Oak Park, Mich., and later Troy, Mich. As shown at trial, Javidan paid doctors to refer non-homebound patients for physical therapy treatment that was medically unnecessary. The evidence showed that she also paid patient recruiters to obtain Medicare information and pre-signed physical therapy documents from Medicare beneficiaries. The recruiters for Acure obtained the Medicare information and pre-signed forms by paying patients in cash and by promising that the referring doctors would prescribe them narcotic prescriptions.
Evidence presented at trial established that Meda and other physical therapists and physical therapy assistants employed by Acure created false and fraudulent physical therapy files using the blank, pre-signed forms to make it appear as if physical therapy services were actually rendered, when, in fact, the services had not been rendered.
Acure was paid over $2.3 million from Medicare between December 2008 and November 2010.
The health care fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison; each count of health care fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; each count of making false statements carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison; and each count of kickback conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for July 8, 2013.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Catherine K. Dick and Niall M. O’Donnell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The investigation was led by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and 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 more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is 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.