Assistant Administrator of Houston Hospital Indicted for Alleged Role in $116 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON – An assistant administrator of a Houston hospital was arrested today on charges related to his alleged participation in a $116 million Medicare fraud scheme involving false claims for mental health treatment, announced the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
An indictment filed in the Southern District of Texas and unsealed today charges Mohammed Khan, 62, of Houston, with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks and five counts of paying or offering to pay health care kickbacks. Khan is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court today in Houston.
“The indictment against Mr. Kahn alleges that he used his position as a hospital assistant administrator to submit millions in false claims to the Medicare program,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “According to the charges, he paid kickbacks to patient recruiters, owners of group homes and assisted living facilities, and beneficiaries so that he could fill his hospital with patients for whom he could bill the government for medically unnecessary services or services that were never provided. We will continue aggressively to pursue individuals who attempt to enrich themselves at the expense of the Medicare program.”
“The defendant charged in this indictment is accused of stealing precious Medicare resources by billing for services that were medically unnecessary or never provided," said Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI’s Houston Field Office. “Our health care fraud efforts have never been more collaborative and aggressive. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect patients and fight against health care fraud.”
According to the indictment, Khan, as the assistant administrator of a Houston hospital, allegedly operated a scheme to defraud Medicare beginning in 2008 and continuing until his arrest today. Khan allegedly caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services to Medicare through the hospital. A PHP is a form of intensive outpatient treatment for severe mental illness.
The indictment alleges that Khan paid kickbacks to owners and operators of group care homes and assisted living facilities and to patient recruiters in exchange for delivering ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to the hospital’s PHPs. The indictment alleges that Khan also paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries who attended the hospital’s PHPs. These kickbacks included cigarettes, food and coupons redeemable for items available at the hospital’s “country stores.” Khan and his co-conspirators submitted or caused to be submitted approximately $116 million in claims to Medicare for PHP services purportedly provided by the hospital to the recruited beneficiaries, when in fact, the PHP services were medically unnecessary or never provided.
Today’s charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Morris of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS’s Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG); the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU Special Agent in Charge Lucy R. Cruz of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Houston Field Office; Joseph J. Del Favero, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Inspector General (RRB-OIG); and Scott Rezendes, Special Agent in Charge of Field Operations of the Office of Personnel Management, Office of Inspector General (OPM-OIG).
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Laura M.K. Cordova, Attorney Allan Medina, Assistant Chief William Pericak and Deputy Chief Sam S. Sheldon of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, MFCU, IRS, RRB-OIG and OPM-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,190 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $3.2 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.