News and Press Releases

SEATTLE DOCTOR SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR IN PRISON FOR BILLING FRAUD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2005

VIMLESH AHMAD, 58, of Seattle, Washington was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison, and two years of supervised release in U.S. District Court in Seattle today for Health Care Fraud. AHMAD's attorney, Robert Mahler, told the court "this is an extraordinarily painful day" for AHMAD, her family, friends and supporters.

AHMAD admitted she filed false and fraudulent claims with Medicare, Medicaid, the Washington State Industrial Insurance Program (Labor and Industries) and private health insurance programs. Under the plea agreement and a civil settlement, Dr. AHMAD will pay $1,000,100 in fines, restitution, repayment and civil damages, including double damages to Medicare and Medicaid.

According to the plea agreement, Dr. AHMAD regularly submitted claims to health care benefit programs at a higher level of service than she really provided. AHMAD made false statements in patient charts referencing tests that were never performed, and she sometimes billed for office visits when she had not seen the patient at all. Even after being audited by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) on behalf of the Medicaid program, AHMAD continued to submit false and fraudulent bills. The plea agreement cites one example where AHMAD billed Medicaid for three visits with a patient, when in fact that patient was outside Washington State during the entire time period.

Dr. AHMAD has agreed to surrender her medical license, and has agreed that she will not practice medicine in any form in the United States. The government sought those conditions because of AHMAD's prescription practices which were investigated, but not charged. AHMAD has agreed that she will be permanently excluded from billing, as a health care provider, any federal health care programs such as Medicare or Medicaid.

In sentencing AHMAD, U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour told her he was "impressed with her family and her commitment to her family." He accepted the agreed to sentence noting his respect for the attorneys involved and U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez who had mediated settlement talks.

This case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI and the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the Washington State Attorney General's Office. Assistant United States Attorney Susan Loitz handled the criminal prosecution and Assistant United States Attorney Peter Winn handled the civil settlement.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206) 553-4110.

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