WASHINGTON – Mahsa Azimirad, the former office manager for Universal Smiles, a Washington, D.C.-based dental practice, was sentenced today to 12 months in prison on a federal charge of health care fraud stemming from a scheme in which she was paid over $813,000 by defrauding the District of Columbia’s Medicaid program.
The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips; Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Washington Field Office, Criminal Division; Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General for the region that includes Washington, D.C., and Daniel W. Lucas, Inspector General for the District of Columbia.
Azimirad, 41, of Rockville, Md., was indicted in January 2019, along with Bilal Ahmed, the dentist who ran the dental practice. She pleaded guilty in May 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She was sentenced by the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Following completion of her prison term, Azimirad will be placed on three years of supervised release. The Court entered a $813,184 forfeiture money judgment and also ordered her to pay $813,184 in restitution.
According to the statement of offense submitted to the Court and admitted by Azimirad, she was the marketing and operations manager for Universal Smiles, a dental practice in Northwest Washington. Through Universal Smiles, she and Ahmed engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves by defrauding D.C. Medicaid, a health care benefits program jointly funded by the federal government and the District of Columbia to provide health care services to residents who meet the income qualifying requirements. As part of the scheme, Ahmed applied to be a Medicaid provider. Once approved to bill Medicaid, Azimirad and Ahmed then billed D.C. Medicaid for thousands of provisional crowns, a significant number of which were not provided to the Medicaid patients. From Aug. 9, 2012, through Feb. 26, 2014, D.C. Medicaid paid Universal Smiles approximately $5.4 million for provisional crowns. Of the $5.4 million that D.C. Medicaid paid for provisional crowns, Azimirad received approximately $813,184.
In a related case, Ahmed, 49, pleaded guilty in 2017 to sexually assaulting five former dental patients and one former employee and improperly touching another former employee. The victims were attacked in separate incidents between 2010 and 2014. He was sentenced to 16 ½ years in prison for those offenses and is serving a concurrent sentence after pleading guilty in 2019 to a federal health care fraud charge in this case.
In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge Dixon, and Inspector General Lucas commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the District of Columbia Office of Inspector General. They also expressed appreciation for the work of Paralegal Specialist Chad Byron and Forensic Financial Analyst Bryan Snitselaar. Finally, they commended the work of Criminal Division Trial Attorney Gary Winters, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Jackson, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Miller, and former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Denise A. Simmonds, Michelle Bradford, and Lionel André, who prosecuted the case.
The FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the District of Columbia’s Office of the Inspector General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who defraud the D.C. Medicaid program. The government relies on the public for tips and assistance in helping stop health care fraud. If you have information about individuals committing health care fraud, please call the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General hotline at (800) HHS‑TIPS [(800) 447-8477.