The owner and operator of a Detroit-area home health care agency was sentenced to 57 months in prison today for his participation in a $3.4 million health care fraud scheme.Â
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Departmentâ€™s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios of the FBIâ€™s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector Generalâ€™s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Region made the announcement.
Mohammad Rafiq, 49, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh of the Eastern District of Michigan, who also ordered Rafiq to pay $3,471,906.02 in restitution and to forfeit the same amount.Â
According to his plea agreement, Rafiq was the owner and operator of Perfect Home Health Care (Perfect), a home health care agency that purported to provide home health care and physical therapy services to eligible Medicare beneficiaries in the greater Detroit metropolitan area.Â According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, Rafiq paid physicians and recruiters to refer Medicare beneficiaries to Perfect and sign medical documents falsely certifying that they required home health care.Â Rafiq also directed patient recruiters and Perfect employees to pay cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for signing multiple blank physical therapy records, he admitted.Â
Between February 2009 and November 2013, Medicare paid Perfect approximately $3.4 million as a result of these false and fraudulent claims, Rafiq admitted.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the supervision of the Criminal Divisionâ€™s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan.Â This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Elizabeth Young and Special Trial Attorney Katie R. Fink of the Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Wagner of the Eastern District of Michigan.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged over 2,300 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $7 billion.Â 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.Â