Essex County Man Sentenced to Prison for Health Care Fraud, Paying Kickbacks
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Arshad Nazir, age 55, of Ticonderoga, New York, was sentenced yesterday to 1 year and 1 day in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, for conspiring to defraud Medicaid, and conspiring to pay bribes and kickbacks to Medicaid beneficiaries who used his medical transportation service.
The announcement was made by:
- United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith;
- James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
- New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett; and
- New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro.
Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy also ordered Nazir to pay $450,000 in restitution, $50,000 of which Nazir paid immediately following his sentencing.
The sentencing was the result of a state and federal investigation into Medicaid fraud committed by the owners and operators of medical transportation companies based in Essex County.
Nazir operated Capital Medallion, Inc. d/b/a Avalanche Taxi Service (“Avalanche Taxi”), a Medicaid-funded transportation company based in Ticonderoga. The New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) paid Nazir’s company at least $2.45 million for Medicaid-funded transportation between 2014 and 2018.
As part of his plea on February 12, 2019, Nazir admitted that he committed a variety of frauds against Medicaid and DOH, including: billing Medicaid and receiving payment for trips where beneficiaries drove themselves to their own medical appointments, and falsifying the identities of the drivers for those trips; billing Medicaid and receiving payment for roundtrips to and from medical appointments when the beneficiaries took only one-way trips with Avalanche Taxi; and falsifying pick-up and drop-off locations, in order to increase the purported distances traveled and therefore be able to claim and receive higher Medicaid payments.
Nazir also admitted that he agreed to pay kickbacks and bribes to Medicaid beneficiaries in order to get these beneficiaries to schedule and keep scheduling medical transportation appointments with Avalanche Taxi. Kickbacks included cash, cigarettes and tobacco, and free goods at Nazir’s convenience store in Ticonderoga.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the New York State Police’s Special Investigations Unit, and the Office of the New York State Inspector General, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.
Several additional agencies assisted in this investigation, including the Essex County District Attorney’s Office; New York State Police-Troop B; the Office of the New York State Comptroller, Division of Investigations; New York State Attorney General’s Office, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU); Essex County Sheriff’s Office; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG); and the New York State Department of Labor.