The owner of four Detroit area-based home health companies was sentenced to 30 years behind bars for a $33 million Medicare fraud scheme he played a role in.
Zafar Mehmood, owner of Access Care Home Care Inc., Patient Care Home Care Inc., Hands on Healing Home Care Inc. and All State Home Care Inc., was involved in a Medicare scam that took place from 2006 through 2011, according to the Department of Justice.
Mehmood was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, two counts of money laundering and two counts of obstruction of justice, court documents show.
Through this scheme, Mehmood obtained patients by paying cash kickbacks to recruiters, who then paid cash to patients to convince them to sign up for home health care with Mehmood’s companies. Mehmood also paid kickbacks to physicians to refer patients to his companies for unnecessary home health care services, the evidence in court showed.
Along with co-conspirators, Mehmood falsified records to make it appear that patients were qualified to receive certain services that Medicare paid over $33 million for during the six years the conspiracy took place.
The obstruction of justice charges came about when Mehmood was visiting a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) facility during pretrial to review evidence with this attorney when he stole incriminating documents that law enforcement authorities had taken during the searches of his companies. Law enforcement agents then found the missing documents in Mehmood’s jail cell, according to the DOJ.
In addition to his 30-year prison sentence, Mehmood was also ordered to pay $40,488,106.98 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy of the Eastern District of Michigan.
There was one co-conspirator who was convicted at trial of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks. Badar Ahmadani is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 7, 2016.
Both the FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was then brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The Force was started in March 2007 and since has charged almost 2,900 defendants who have fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $10 billion.
Written by Alana Stramowski