Physician Sentenced to 72 Months in Prison for Role in Detroit-Area Medicare Fraud Scheme
A Detroit-area physician who led and directed a multimillion-dollar Medicare fraud scheme through his medical practice was sentenced today to 72 months in prison.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios 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) made the announcement.
Dr. Hicham A. Elhorr, 48, of Dearborn, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds of the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to imposing the prison term, Judge Edmunds ordered Elhorr to pay $2,073,108.16 in restitution.
According to admissions in his plea agreement, from approximately August 2008 through September 2012, Elhorr and his coconspirators fraudulently billed Medicare $4.2 million for purported in-home physician services. Elhorr admitted that he employed unlicensed individuals through his visiting physician practice, House Calls Physicians PLLC, who held themselves out as licensed physicians and purported to provide physician home visits and other services to Medicare beneficiaries in Michigan. The unlicensed individuals prepared medical documentation that Elhorr and other licensed physicians signed as if they had performed the visits when, in fact, no licensed physicians had treated the beneficiaries.
This case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was prosecuted by former Assistant Chief Catherine K. Dick and Trial Attorneys Matthew C. Thuesen and F. Turner Buford of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged approximately 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion. In addition, the HHS 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.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.