Charlotte Behavioral Health Services Provider Is Indicted For Defrauding The South Carolina Medicaid Program And COVID-19 Relief Fraud
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The owner of a Greensboro, N.C. area clinic has been indicted for his alleged involvement in a health care fraud scheme that defrauded the North Carolina Medicaid Program (Medicaid) of more than $4.7 million, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The 10-count indictment charges Aljihad Shabazz, 44, of Kernersville, N.C., with health care fraud conspiracy, health care fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering.
Robert M. DeWitt, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Charlotte Field Office (IRS-CI), and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, who oversees the North Carolina Medicaid Division (MID), join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
The federal indictment alleges that Shabazz owned and operated Reign & Inspirations, LLC (R&I), a clinic that purportedly provided outpatient behavioral services in Greensboro and surrounding areas. According to allegations contained in the indictment, between 2017 and 2020, Shabazz allegedly conspired with other individuals to carry out an extensive health care fraud scheme involving the fraudulent submissions of fake reimbursement claims to Medicaid, for services that were never provided to Medicaid beneficiaries. Shabazz allegedly obtained the personal identifying information (PII) of Medicaid beneficiaries through community outreach programs, including football and mentoring programs, and misused the beneficiaries’ PII to create and submit hundreds of fraudulent reimbursement claims and to receive payment for services that were never in fact provided by R&I. During the relevant time period, Shabazz and his co-conspirators allegedly used the beneficiaries’ PII to submit more than 1,500 fraudulent reimbursement claims to Medicaid, some of which claimed that R&I provided services that exceeded 24 hours in a single day.
The indictment also alleges that the reimbursement payments made by Medicaid were deposited in bank accounts under Shabazz’s control. Shabazz used a portion of the fraudulent proceeds to pay kickbacks to his co-conspirators and to cover personal expenses, including to pay for personal travel, luxury items, and timeshares, and to make cash withdrawals, among other things.
“Health care fraud hurts individuals who rely on government-funded programs to cover legitimate patient care needs. Working with our law enforcement partners we will investigate and hold accountable health care fraud cheats and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” said U.S. Attorney King.
“This desire for money, along with the power and material items it buys, allegedly drove the defendant to perpetrate crimes against our healthcare system,” said Special Agent in Charge Eakins. “Thanks to the financial expertise and diligence of IRS-CI special agents and our law enforcement partners, we will continue to uncover these schemes and pursue individuals who allegedly operate counter to laws protecting the federal healthcare programs.”
"This health care provider allegedly used people's personal data to steal millions in Medicaid dollars, said Attorney General Stein. "I want to thank the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI for working with our Medicaid Investigations Division to hold accountable providers who cheat taxpayers."
A summons has been issued and Shabazz will appear in federal court for his initial appearance. The health care fraud conspiracy and health care fraud offenses carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison per count. The money laundering conspiracy and money laundering offenses carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison per count.
The charges against Shabazz are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI, IRS-CI, and the North Carolina Medicaid Division investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cassye Cole and Mike Savage and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jermaine Sellers with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte are prosecuting the case.