The owner of a Detroit-area home health care agency was sentenced today to serve 65 months in prison for her leading role in a $2.2 million Medicare fraud scheme.
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, 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 (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations’ Detroit Office made the announcement.
Mehran Javidan, 51, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to her prison term, Javidan was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution, jointly and severally with her co-defendants.
Javidan was convicted by a federal jury on April 2, 2013, 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 home health care company Acure Home Care Inc. (Acure). 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.
Javidan was initially charged along with two other defendants in an indictment unsealed on Feb. 17, 2011, as part of a nationwide Medicare fraud takedown. One co-defendant was also convicted on April 2, 2013, while the other remains a fugitive.
According to evidence presented at trial, Javidan owned and operated Acure, a home health care company in Oak Park, Mich., and later Troy, Mich. 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 Javidan paid physical therapists and physical therapy assistants employed by Acure to create 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.
Javidan then directed the submission of Acure’s falsified billing to Medicare. Acure was paid more than $2.2 million from Medicare between December 2008 and November 2010.
The investigation was led by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Chief Catherine K. Dick and Trial Attorney Niall M. O’Donnell of the Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in Chicago and eight other cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and 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.