A former owner and manager of two Detroit-area home health care agencies pleaded guilty last week in federal court for his role in a Medicare fraud conspiracy that bilked $22 billion from the federal program.
Usman Butt, 40, of Shelby Township, Mich., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman in the Eastern District of Michigan to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and aiding for assisting in preparing a fraudulent tax return on August 27.
Plea documents indicated that Butt admitted to conspiring with others to bill Medicare for home health care services that were not actually rendered, not medically necessary and procured through paying illegal kickbacks between 2008 through January 2013.
Specifically, Butt said that the physical therapy and skilled nursing services provided by his companies, Prestige Home Health Services Inc., based in Troy, Mich., and Royal Home Health Care Inc. of Clawson and Troy, were not medically necessary or even rendered. Additionally, Butt admitted to fabricating patient files to give the appearance that the services were medically necessary and actually provided.
Throughout the scheme, Butt submitted or caused the submission of false claims to Medicare, which as a result caused the federal payor to fund approximately $12,607,262. Court records also showed the conspiracy resulted in the submission of fraudulent claims that caused Medicare to pay more than $22 million.
On another admission, Butt said he assisted a fellow co-conspirator in filing a false corporate tax return for Prestige, deducting illegal kickbacks as “business expenses” to save the company at least $321,485 in taxes due for 2009.
Investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the case was brought as part of the Medicare Strike Force crackdown.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Strike Force has been credited with charging nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion.
Butt’s plea follows that of his former business partner and co-conspirator, Muhammad Aamir, who pleaded guilty on August 20. Sentencing for Butt has been scheduled for January 13, 2015.
Written by Jason Oliva