Detroit Jury Convicts Three in $14 Million Home Health Care Scheme
A federal jury in Detroit convicted three individuals for their participation in a nearly $15 million Medicare home health fraud scheme.
Shahzad Mizra, 43, a physical therapist; Jigar Patel, 30, a physical therapy assistant; and Srinivas Reddy, 38, a foreign medical student lacking a license to practice medicine were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with a scheme involving multiple Detroit-area home health agencies.
The scheme perpetrated from July 2008 through September 2011 and included companies Physicians Choice Home Care LLC, Quantum Home Care Inc., First Care Home Health Care LLC, Moonlite Home Care Inc. and Phoenix Visiting Physicians.
Evidence at trial indicated that Physicians Choice, Quantum, First Care and Moonlite operated a fraudulent scheme to bill Medicare for services that were never provided.
The companies paid kickbacks to recruiters who in turn paid Medicare beneficiaries cash and promised them access to narcotic prescriptions.
Additionally, Mizra, Patel and Reddy created Phoenix Visiting Physicians, which employed unlicensed individuals to visit patients and provide them with the narcotic prescriptions, as well as obtain the information necessary to fill out paperwork to refer them for medically unnecessary home care services.
As a result, the scheme netted nearly $15 million paid to Physicians Choice and the related companies during the course of the conspiracy, court documents revealed.
In addition to the one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, Mizra and Patel were each found guilty of two counts of health care fraud in connection with the submission of false claims to Medicare.
Patel was also found guilty of one count of money laundering in connection with the laundering of the proceeds obtained from the scheme through his own staffing company, MI Healthcare Staffing.
Reddy was found guilty of three counts of health care fraud in connection with the submission of false Medicare claims for home health services and physician visits.
The investigation was led by the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and was brought by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force—a joint effort of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Sentencing for all three defendants has not yet been scheduled.
Written by Jason Oliva