| July 31, 2015
Two home health care agency owners in the Detroit area were convicted for their roles in a $33 million Medicare fraud scheme. The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.
Both men, Zafar Mehmood, 49, and Badar Ahmadani, 48, were from Ypsilanti. Mehmood’s convictions included conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, and two counts of money laundering along with four counts of health care fraud. He was also convicted of two counts of obstruction of justice related to theft of evidence from an HHS-OIG facility. Ahmadani’s two convictions consisted of one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Evidence also showed that Mehmood and Ahmadani paid physicians kickbacks to refer patients to their companies for home health care services that were not necessary.
The evidence presented during trial indicated that the defendants, along with their co-conspirators, created false documentation that made it look like their patients qualified for Medicare services and received those services. They then billed Medicare over $33 million for services that were never rendered during a five year period from 2006 to 20011. Evidence also showed that Mehmood stole documents that had been seized by law enforcement who had executed search warrants to attain the information. Law enforcement was able to recover the stolen documents during a search of Mehmood’s jail cell.
The FBI and HHS-OIG conducted the investigation. The investigation was implemented as a joint effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Trial Attorneys Niall M. O’Donnell and A. Brendan Stewart, and Senior Trial Attorney Nathan Dimock, Assistant Chief Jennifer L. Saulino, Assistant Chief Catherine K. Dick and Deputy Chief Gejaa T. Gobena of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case. The investigation was part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force which was implemented in 2007. Since its inception, 2,300 defendants have been charged for fraudulently billing Medicare $7 billion.