Department of JusticeOffice of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFriday, October 28, 2016
Detroit-Area Home Health Care Agency Owner Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for $33 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
The owner of several Detroit home health care companies was sentenced today to 360 months in prison for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme that caused approximately $33 million in losses.
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 David P. Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.
Zafar Mehmood, 50, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy of the Eastern District of Michigan, who also ordered Mehmood to pay $40,488,106.98 in restitution. Forfeiture will be determined at a hearing on Nov. 7, 2016. On July 27, 2015, 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.
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2006 through 2011, Mehmood participated in a scheme in which he obtained patients by paying cash kickbacks to recruiters, who in turn paid cash to patients to induce them to sign up for home health care with Mehmood’s companies: Access Care Home Care Inc., Patient Care Home Care Inc., Hands On Healing Home Care Inc. and All State Home Care Inc. The evidence also showed that he paid kickbacks to physicians to refer patients to the companies for unnecessary home health care services.
In addition, trial evidence showed that Mehmood and his co-conspirators falsified records to make it appear as if the patients qualified for and received the services for which Medicare paid over $33 million during the course of the conspiracy. Mehmood used a co-conspirator to launder the proceeds of the fraud through shell companies under Mehmood’s control, according to trial evidence.
Trial evidence also demonstrated that while visiting an HHS-OIG facility during pretrial release to review evidence with his attorney, Mehmood stole incriminating documents that law enforcement authorities had seized during the execution of search warrants at Mehmood’s companies. Law enforcement agents subsequently recovered the missing documents in a search of Mehmood’s jail cell.
A co-defendant, Badar Ahmadani, was also 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. Ahmadani is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 7, 2016.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Niall M. O’Donnell and A. Brendan Stewart prosecuted the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $10 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
You don’t know me.
I am one of the original Displaced Americans circa 2003.
Displaced by things like caste.
If you don’t know what it is, google dalit and caste.
And then tell me why you are supporting displacing more and more Americans with caste…!
These 60 or so applications are for Fiscal Year 2016 H-1B’s.
Each job that they take is one less job for Americans in America.
I believe this is wrong and I want to print the complete list with all of the information that is in that list.
Americans have families to provide for, and this is America, not India or China.
I have the skills they are looking for.
So does Art.
And hundreds of thousands of other damned fine Americans.
But they won’t consider us as it is cheaper and more profitable to hire non-immigrant guest workers who will work ungodly hours for what turns out to be very little money when you divide the salary by the hours.
If you will help me to do this, I promise we will find a way to do the same to usaa as they are doing much worse when you look at the ads their American clients have done for them not realizing that they are not hire vets, or Americans.
I worked at USAA for 2 years. Part of their service desk. When I got there, the service desk was being run by Kforce, Kforce got fired, another company came in. That company? The infamous HCL. Not only was management all Indians, but they cheated and abused the law. We didn’t paid 1.5x overtime, they labeled us as “Flexible work hours” employees and paid us on a sliding 0.5x OT. When that got too dangerous as lawyers started making inquiries they quit paying us OT on our paychecks an started handing out $10 an hour gift cards.That’s IF you worked OT at their request.It get’s better.My group was the internal service desk, we did software fix for employees. HCL paid us salaried, but wanted to move us to hourly. They couldn’t. So instead of hiring under that contract with USAA that forced the salaries, they subcontracted for nearly 40% LESS Pay to do the same job.It get’s better.The internal HARDWARE teams, that installed and maintained employees PC’s? All were USAA Employees. Were, I say because HCL came in, took over that desk and forced all the USAA Employees to convert to the HCL or quit. Less pay, less benefits.It get’s better.Most of USAA’s IT Programming and support? Chennai India. If you come to San Antonio, take a walk along Fredricksburg road. Guess what? Little India, all USAA workers.It get’s better.HCL is contracted to say pay each of these H1B Visa employees say.. 45k a year, but they only get 25K, and are told if they say anything, they’ll lose their visa’s.HCL Management pockets the difference.USAA knows about this, they don’t care.The ALL AMERICAN, Pro-US MILITARY, VETERAN (Of which I am) FInancial and Insurance agency… is a major employer of not Veterans, or Americans…
My dream job would be to use my skills to help homeless/nearly homeless vets like myself in any occupational group to be able to provide a roof over their head – I currently do for free the following, and if I could find a benefactor to make it happen, I would focus on the following 24 x 7 for the rest of my life –
To do so means I need the ability to know that my land payment of $625 per month is paid, and that I can afford a payment of about $150 per month for five years for a cargo container and about 150 per month for fast internet/voip phone and about 100 per week for vittles (yep, beer and bbq/chili)
Basically a hunting cabin type lifestyle
Then I could hunt those using the internet who are purchasing H-1B Hunting Licenses to force Americans from the middle class to the dalit class and trust me, those that know me know I will leave no stone unturned
And if a big benefactor were to turn up, I would hunt them in the nations media where they deserve to be exposed for the varmints that they are
Department of JusticeOffice of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, October 27, 2016
Dozens of Individuals Indicted in Multimillion-Dollar Indian Call Center Scam Targeting U.S. Victims
Today, an indictment was unsealed charging a total of 61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Inspector General J. Russell George of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and Inspector General John Roth of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) made the announcement today.
“The indictment we unsealed and the arrests we made today demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to identifying and prosecuting the individuals behind these impersonation and telefraud schemes, who seek to profit by exploiting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,”said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “This is a transnational problem, and demonstrates that modern criminals target Americans both from inside our borders and from abroad. Only by working tirelessly to gather evidence, build cases and working closely with foreign law enforcement partners to ensure there are no safe havens can we effectively address these threats.”
“This indictment will serve to not only seek the conviction of those involved, but will send a message around the world that no one is safe from prosecution for participating in such pervasive transnational fraud schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Magidson. “We are extremely vigilant when the names of U.S. government agencies are used to perpetuate fraud for the purpose of victimizing so many innocent American citizens.”
“Today’s actions will not only bring a sense of justice to the victims in this case, but this significant investigation will also help increase awareness of this type of fraud,” said Executive Associate Director Edge. “To potential victims, our message today is simple: U.S. government agencies do not make these types of calls, and if you receive one, contact law enforcement to report the suspected scam before you make a payment.”
“All agencies involved in today’s announcement are to be congratulated and commended on their outstanding efforts,” said Inspector General George. “This indictment is the result of countless hours of solid investigative work and excellent cross-governmental collaboration concerning massive amounts of fraud that individuals have allegedly perpetrated on the American people.”
“This multi-agency, three year investigation illustrates the ability of federal, state and local agencies to successfully leverage resources, communicate and work together to achieve justice,” said Inspector General Roth. “We commend the victims for overcoming any possible embarrassment or fear and coming forward and report this to the authorities.”
The indictment was returned by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Oct. 19, 2016, and charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit identity theft, false personation of an officer of the United States, wire fraud and money laundering. One of the defendants is separately charged with passport fraud.
The indictment alleges that the defendants were involved in a sophisticated fraudulent scheme organized by conspirators in India, including a network of call centers in Ahmedabad, India. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators allegedly called potential victims while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. According to the indictment, the call center operators then threatened potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government. If the victims agreed to pay, the call centers would then immediately turn to a network of U.S.-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds as quickly as possible by purchasing prepaid debit cards or through wire transfers. The prepaid debit cards were often registered using misappropriated personal identifying information of thousands of identity theft victims, and the wire transfers were directed by the criminal associates using fake names and fraudulent identifications.
The co-conspirators allegedly used “hawalas,” in which money is transferred internationally outside of the formal banking system, to direct the extorted funds to accounts belonging to U.S.-based individuals. According to the indictment, these individuals were expecting the hawala transfers but were not aware of the illicit nature of the funds. The co-conspirators also allegedly kept a percentage of the proceeds for themselves.
According to the indictment, one of the call centers extorted $12,300 from an 85-year-old victim from San Diego, California, after threatening her with arrest if she did not pay fictitious tax violations. On the same day that she was extorted, one of the U.S.-based defendants allegedly used a reloadable debit card funded with the victim’s money to purchase money orders in Frisco, Texas.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants extorted $136,000 from a victim in Hayward, California, who they called multiple times over a period of 20 days, fraudulently purporting to be IRS agents and demanding payment for alleged tax violations. The victim was then directed to purchase 276 stored value cards which the defendants then transferred to reloadable debit cards. Some of the victim’s money ended up on cards which were activated using stolen personal identifying information from U.S.- based victims.
The conspirators would at times allegedly use alternative fraudulent schemes in which the call center operators would offer the victims small short-term loans or advise them that they were eligible for grants. The indictment alleges that the conspirators would then request a good-faith deposit to show the victims’ ability to pay back the loan, or payment of a fee to process the grant. The victims of the alleged scam never received any money after making the requested payment.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
DHS OIG, HSI and TIGTA led the investigation. The Ft. Bend, Texas, County Sheriff’s Department; the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Police Department; the Leonia, New Jersey, Police Department; the Naperville, Illinois, Police Department; the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Family Protection/Elder Abuse Unit; the U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General; IOC-2; INTERPOL Washington; and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices of the Northern District of Alabama, District of Arizona, Central District of California, Northern District of California, District of Colorado, Northern District of Florida, Middle District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, Northern District of Indiana, District of Nevada and District of New Jersey provided significant support in this case. The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau provided assistance in TIGTA’s investigation.
Senior Trial Attorney Hope Olds and Trial Attorney Michael Sheckels of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Trial Attorney Robert Stapleton of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Mark McIntyre and Craig Feazel of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.
A Department of Justice website has been established to provide information about the case to already identified and potential victims, and the public. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of fraud or identity theft in relation to this investigation or other telefraud scam phone calls may contact the FTC via this website.
Anyone who wants additional information about telefraud scams generally, or preventing identity theft or fraudulent use of their identity information, may obtain helpful information on the IRS tax scams website, the FTC phone scam website and the FTC identity theft website.