New Charges Bring To A Total of 9 Charged for Their Roles in the Scheme
Charges against five more individuals for their alleged participation in a $24.7 million Medicare fraud scheme involving purported home health and psychotherapy services were unsealed and made public in the Eastern District of Michigan on September 20, 2012 bring to a total of nine individuals now charged in the scheme.
The Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly announced the charges.
DOJ charges in court documents that the scheme allegedly involved a total of more than $24.7 million in fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare for purported home health care and psychotherapy services that were medically unnecessary and/or never provided. Court documents allege that the defendants are operators, employees and marketers associated with home health care and psychotherapy clinics operating in and around Detroit. Defendants charged in the unsealed court documents unsealed today include: Mohammed Sadiq; Jamella Al-Jumail; Firas Alky; Clarence Cooper and Beverly Cooper.
Four defendants charged in the superseding indictment were previously charged and arrested in May 2012 for their roles in the scheme. Defendants previously charged include: Sachin Sharma, Dana Sharma, Abdul Malik Al-Jumail, and Felicar Williams.
The superseding indictment charges all defendants with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; Sachin Sharma with five counts of health care fraud; Sachin Sharma, Abdul Malik Al-Jumail, Williams, Sadiq, Alky and Clarence Cooper with one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks; and Jamella Al-Jumail with one count of destruction of records in a federal investigation. The superseding indictment also seeks forfeiture from all defendants.
According to the superseding indictment, from January 2007 through April 2012, the defendants operated a large network of purported home health care and psychotherapy companies in the Detroit area through which they conspired to defraud Medicare.
According to court documents, Sachin Sharma, Dana Sharma, Abdul Malik Al-Jumail, Williams, Jamella Al-Jumail, Sadiq, Alky and other alleged co-conspirators incorporated home health care, psychotherapy and other medical service companies to carry out the scheme, including Reliance Home Care, LLC; First Choice Home Health Care Services Inc.; Associates in Home Care Inc.; Haven Adult Day Care Center LLC; Swift Home Care LLC; ABC Home Care Inc.; Accessible Home Care Inc.; and Be Well Home Care LLC. The defendants, along with co-conspirators, allegedly submitted Medicare enrollment applications to let these companies to bill Medicare. Sachin Sharma, Abdul Malik-Al-Jumail, Sadiq, Alky and others allegedly paid kickbacks and bribes to recruiters, including Williams and Clarence Cooper, to get Medicare beneficiaries’ information, which could be used to fraudulently bill Medicare for purported services provided by the companies they operated and controlled. The defendants then allegedly caused these companies to bill Medicare for home health and psychotherapy services, even though these services were not medically necessary and were often not provided.
According to the superseding indictment, the defendants caused Reliance, First Choice, Associates, Haven, Swift, ABC, Accessible and other home health, psychotherapy and medical services companies to bill approximately $24.7 million in claims to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided. In addition, Jamella Al-Jumail is charged with destroying records relating to Accessible’s Medicare billings upon learning of the May 2012 arrest of Abdul Malik Al-Jumail, her co-conspirator and father.
Clarence and Beverly Cooper, Sadiq and Jamella Al-Jumail were arrested on September 21.
The case is being prosecuted by Fraud Section Assistant Chief Gejaa T. Gobena and Trial Attorney William G. Kanellis. The investigations were conducted jointly by the FBI and HHS-OIG, as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Act To Manage Health Care Fraud Exposures
As health care fraud enforcement remains a lead Federal priority, health care providers face ever-heightening exposures to HEAT task force scrutiny and prosecution. Along with these criminal investigation and enforcement activities, health care providers also face civil monetary penalty, federal program disqualification and other civil and administrative remedies from billing, reimbursement and other health care fraud, billing audits and other enforcement and audit activities.
In response to these and other investigation and oversight activities, health care providers should strengthen their compliance practices and oversight and take other special care to position themselves and their billings to defend against possible challenge.
For Help With Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs
If you need help providing compliance or other training, reviewing or responding to these or other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns/ She also regularly designs and presents risk management, compliance and other training for health care providers, professional associations and others. Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications. You can get more information about her health industry experience here. Contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.
About Solutions Law Press
Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:
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