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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Three sentenced to prison for $3 million fraud involving Cleveland home health company

Three people were sentenced to prison for their roles in a $3 million conspiracy involving a home health service company with offices in Cleveland to defraud government insurance programs by billing for services not provided, law enforcement officials said.

George Epps, 43, of Cleveland, was sentenced to 46 months in prison.

Abdulazis Warsame, 51, of Cleveland, was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

Amir Ahmed, 51, of Columbus, was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

All three worked for Lifeline Home Health Services, which was incorporated in 2006 and had an office at 12200 Fairhill Road in Cleveland.

The defendants and others conspired between 2009 to 2013 to defraud Medicaid by submitting false documentation to become an accredited home healthcare provider, forging documents to make it appear doctors had approved specific plans of care, fabricating and billing for home health visits that had not taken place. Ahmed also recruited patients by offering cash kickbacks in exchange for becoming patients of Lifeline, according to court documents.

Collectively, they received payment for more than $3 million in fraudulent claims, according to court documents.

“These defendants stole millions of dollars from the public,” U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon said. “They have earned their time in prison. We will continue to work collaboratively to protect taxpayers and programs receiving federal dollars.”

“The sentencing of these defendants should send a message to illegitimate providers of home health services that the OIG and our law enforcement partners are actively engaged in identifying, exposing, and holding accountable those who choose to attack the Medicaid and Medicare programs,” said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Chicago Region. “The OIG will continue to dedicate resources to combat fraud in the area of home health services to protect those patients who truly need these services, and to preserve vital taxpayer dollars.”

“These defendants orchestrated a multi-million dollar conspiracy to defraud Ohio Medicaid and live off of taxpayer dollars that they were never entitled to receive,” said Attorney General Mike DeWine.  “Their conduct was egregious, and it is something that authorities with my office are trained to identify, investigate, and prosecute.  I’m pleased that prison time and restitution was ordered in this case because this behavior will not be tolerated in Ohio.”

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Collyer following an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Ohio Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 

Topic(s): 
Healthcare Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated December 8, 2016