Physical Therapy Assistant Pleads Guilty in Connection with Detroit Medicare Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON – Detroit-area resident Ankit Patel pleaded guilty today for his role in a $13.8 million home health care fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley III of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Chicago Regional Office.
Patel, 28, of Westland, Mich., pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud before U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen of the Eastern District of Michigan.
According to court documents, Patel was paid beginning in June 2009 to falsify medical documentation for Physicians Choice Home Health Care LLC, a home health agency owned by his alleged co-conspirators. Patel, a physical therapy assistant, pleaded guilty to creating evaluations, therapy revisit notes and other medical documentation memorializing purported physical therapy for patients he did not see or treat. According to court documents, an alleged co-conspirator instructed Patel on how to falsify medical documentation. Patel also signed therapy revisit notes as a physical therapy assistant for patients he did not see or treat. Patel admitted to knowing that the documents he falsified and the documents he signed would be used to support false claims to Medicare for home health services.
According to Patel’s plea agreement, he was subsequently paid to create and sign falsified medical documentation for First Care Home Health Care LLC, Quantum Home Care Inc. and Moonlite Home Care Inc., which were Detroit-area home health care companies also owned by alleged co-conspirators that billed Medicare.
From approximately June 2009 through September 2011, Medicare paid approximately $1,324,015 to Physicians Choice and Quantum for fraudulent physical therapy claims based on falsified files and notes signed by Patel.
At sentencing, scheduled for March 25, 2013, Patel faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Ten of Patel’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty, and one has been sentenced. Three co-defendants are fugitives, and five co-defendants await trial.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Catherine K. Dick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. It was investigated by the FBI and HHS-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 Eastern District of Michigan.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 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.