The office manager of a Detroit-area home health agency was sentenced today to serve 46 months in prison for her role in a $5.8 million Medicare fraud scheme.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil 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 Detroit Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations made the announcement.
Nabila Mahbub, 28, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to her prison term, Mahbub was sentenced to serve two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution, jointly and severally with her co-defendants.
A jury convicted Mahbub of one count of health care fraud conspiracy in April 2013. According to evidence presented at trial, the defendant and her co-conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through All American Home Care Inc., a home health care company located in Oak Park, Mich., that purported to provide skilled nursing and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries in the greater Detroit area.
The evidence at trial showed that Mahbub and her co-conspirators used patient recruiters, who paid Medicare beneficiaries to sign blank documents for physical therapy services that were never provided and/or medically unnecessary. The owners of All American paid physicians to sign referrals and other therapy documents necessary to bill Medicare. Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants then created fake medical records using blank, pre-signed forms obtained by the patient recruiters to make it appear as if physical therapy services were actually rendered, when, in fact, they were not.
According to evidence presented at trial, Mahbub doctored and directed the doctoring of fake patient files to facilitate the commencement and billing of home health services purportedly provided by physical therapists and physical therapist assistants working for All American. Mahbub also directed the physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who created fake therapy visit notes using blank, pre-signed forms, to make it appear that physical therapy services billed to Medicare were actually provided.
All American was paid more than $5.8 million from Medicare between September 2008 and November 2009.
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. This case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Gejaa T. Gobena and Trial Attorney Matthew C. Thuesen of the 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 1,700 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 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 .