News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Home health care agency owner sentenced for aggravated identity theft related to health care fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, the operator of Universal Home
Health, a home health care agency located in Golden Valley, was sentenced for an offense
related to defrauding Medicaid. United States District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson
sentenced Mustafa Hassan Mussa, age 57, of Minnetonka, to 24 months in prison on one count
of aggravated identity theft. Mussa was charged on August 18, 2011, and pleaded guilty on
October 7, 2011.

In his plea agreement, Mussa admitted that on May 26, 2009, he knowingly caused
fraudulent billings to be submitted to Medicaid. The fraudulent claims were made to the
Minnesota Department of Human Services (“DHS”), which administers the federal Medicaid
program here in Minnesota. The claims indicated that a personal care attendant (“PCA”) was
providing service to a Medicaid recipients when, in fact, the Personal Care Assistant was not
doing so.

The Medicaid program provides medical care and services to low-income people who meet
certain income and eligibility requirements. Home health care, provided by PCAs, is one of the
services reimbursed by Medicaid. The U.S. recovered more than $700,000 to be returned to the
Medicaid program in connection with this matter.

In December 14, 2011, Stephen Jon Rondestvedt, age 58, of Minneapolis, was sentenced to
15 months on one count of health care fraud in a related case. In addition, he was ordered to pay
$55,802.12 in restitution. Rondestvedt, who was an employee of Universal, was also charged
on August 18, 2011. He pleaded guilty on September 14, 2011.

In his plea agreement, Rondestvedt admitted that from February 18, 2008, through
December of 2010, he defrauded Medicaid by submitting false reimbursement claims for
personal care services. Rondestvedt agreed to provide and facilitate kickback payments to the
family of a Medicaid recipient who did not actually receive the personal care services for which
Universal billed Medicaid.

These cases are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General, and the Medicaid
Fraud Control Unit at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. The cases are being prosecuted
by Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Genrich, and related injunctive proceedings are being
handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Jerry Wilhelm.

These cases continue efforts at combating health care fraud, including health care fraud in
the home health care industry. In April of this year
(http://www.justice.gov/usao/mn/press/apr019.pdf ) owners of several home health care
agencies were indicted on allegations of defrauding Medicaid. Those prosecutions built on prior
home health care cases successfully prosecuted at the federal and state levels.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office participates in a task force with the Medicaid Fraud Control
Unit at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office that focuses on home health care fraud trends.
The task force includes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector
General, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, and other federal, state, and local law
enforcement partners.

As a result of federal convictions for health care fraud, defendants are excluded from
participating in federal health benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. Exclusion
determinations are made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nationwide,
more than 3,000 individuals were excluded from program participation in Fiscal Year 2010
based upon criminal convictions or patient abuse or neglect, license revocations, or other
factors.

For more information, visit http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/

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