WASHINGTON – A Detroit-area resident was charged and arrested today in the Eastern District of Michigan for his alleged leading role in a $30 million Medicare fraud scheme involving home health services, announced the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the FBI and the HHS-Office of Inspector General (OIG). In addition to the arrest, law enforcement agents executed search warrants at five locations, seizure warrants for 31 bank accounts related to the scheme and suspended Medicare payments to 16 health care companies associated with the scheme.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Detroit, Zafar Mehmood, 45, allegedly masterminded a $30 million scheme involving the submission of fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary and/or never provided through at least four home health agencies. The four home health agencies named in the complaint are Access Care Home Care Inc. and Patient Care Home Care Inc., in Ypsilanti, Mich., and Hands On Healing Home Care Inc. and All State Home Care Inc., in Detroit.
Mehmood is alleged to have paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and billed Medicare for services that were not medically necessary and/or not performed through Access, Patient Care, Hands On Healing and All State. Mehmood is also accused of laundering the proceeds of the scheme through sham companies and intermediaries.
Mehmood is scheduled to make his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub.
Today’s charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the HHS-OIG Office of Investigation. Including today’s charges, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in Detroit have charged a total of 139 individuals in cases involving approximately $174 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Gejaa T. Gobena and Catherine 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 1,140 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
Criminal complaints contain merely charges and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.