Farmington Hills Psychotherapy Clinic Owner Sentenced for Health Care Fraud Conspiracy Charges
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan
DETROIT - A Farmington Hills clinic owner was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in federal prison after having pleaded guilty to health care fraud and money laundering charges, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.
Joining Ison in the announcement were Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan, and Mario Pinto, Special Agent-In-Charge, United States Department of Health, and Human Services – Office of Inspector General.
Sentenced was Mohamed Kazkaz, 54. Kazkaz was sentenced before United States District Judge Gershwin A. Drain in Detroit. Kazkaz was also ordered to forfeit approximately $5.3 million as the gross proceeds of his unlawful conduct.
During his plea, Kazkaz admitted he owned and controlled Centre HRW, a purported psychotherapy agency in Farmington Hills, Michigan for the purpose of submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, seeking reimbursement for psychotherapy services that were not provided or were otherwise not eligible for reimbursement and whose Medicare identification numbers were procured through kickbacks and bribes.
Kazkaz offered and provided kickbacks and bribes to Ziad Khalel, and others, as an inducement to refer Medicare beneficiaries to Centre for psychotherapy services, even though such services were medically unnecessary and were never rendered. Khalel would require the recruited Medicare beneficiaries to sign blank Centre sign-in sheets. Kazkaz and others, completed the sheets as if the patients had been provided psychotherapy services and relied upon them to support his fraudulent claims to Medicare, through Centre, for psychotherapy services that were never rendered.
In furtherance of the scheme, Kazkaz instructed employees to obtain information regarding the Medicare beneficiaries legitimate medical visits and or treatments to ensure Kazkaz did not submit a fraudulent claim for a psychotherapy appointment on the same date the beneficiary had a legitimate appointment with another medical provider.
Kazkaz admitted he submitted or caused the submission of approximately $11 million dollars in fraudulent claims to Medicare, and Medicare paid approximately $5.3 million dollars to Kazkaz as a result of the fraudulent submissions.
In furtherance of the conspiracy, Kazkaz would transfer the proceeds of the health care fraud scheme to various entities in an effort to conceal the proceeds. Specifically, on January 21, 2023, after his arraignment in this case, he transferred approximately $1,445,000 in a cashier’s check issued by a financial institution located in the Eastern District of Michigan to National Restaurant Chain #1 knowing the source of these funds was criminal proceeds from the health care fraud scheme.
“The actions of this defendant undermine the trust we place in our health care providers,” said United States Attorney Ison. “We hope this prosecution sends a message that we will aggressively seek to hold individuals accountable who steal from federally funded programs, such as Medicare, which are meant to help those in need.”
“Medical providers and others who unlawfully benefit from the payment of kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals, as well as bill our federal health care programs for medically unnecessary and non-rendered services, waste valuable taxpayer dollars and erode the trust that we place in these individuals,” said Mario M. Pinto, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to identify and investigate those who defraud our federal health care system.”
"Whenever the integrity of our health care programs is compromised, it erodes the trust that patients place in providers and puts everyone at risk,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. "Health care fraud is not a victimless crime. Whenever false claims are submitted to our federal health care programs, everyone bears the cost through potentially higher insurance premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, and even reduced or lost benefits. The FBI remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who attempt to personally profit through these false claims and money laundering schemes are held accountable.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Regina R. McCullough and Philip A. Ross. Assistant United States Attorney K. Craig Welkener, of the Money Laundering & Asset Recovery Unit is handling related forfeiture matters. The investigation is being conducted jointly by the FBI and HHS-OIG.
Updated October 26, 2023
Health Care Fraud