When it comes to Medicaid fraud, sometimes it’s all in the family. On July 11, Qaiser Gondal, 47, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiring to defraud Medicaid. The Watervliet, New York man was the owner of Ti Taxi, Inc., a Ticonderoga-based medical transportation company. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and has agreed to pay $325,000 in restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for November 14.
A day earlier, his brother, Khurram Gondal, 38, Ticonderoga, pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud involving two other medical transportation companies, Green Mountain Medical Transportation Inc. and Four Way Taxi, Inc. The younger Gondal faces up to 10 years in prison and has agreed to pay $60,000 in restitution. He is scheduled for sentencing on the same day as his brother.
Charges are still pending against other defendants. More than a dozen people were arrested last year in connection with the case, part of a federal and state investigation into Medicaid fraud and Essex County medical transportation companies. At least ten medical transport services in the area were involved in this multi-million dollar fraud scheme.
Various Frauds Perpetrated
In his plea, Qaiser Gondal admitted perpetrating various frauds against Medicaid and the New York State Department of Health. Sample crimes include billing Medicaid for trips when the patients actually drove themselves to their healthcare providers; using false identities for the drivers of the phony trips; billing Medicaid for roundtrip transport when the patients only took one-way trips, and falsifying pick-up and drop-off locations to make the distances appear greater for larger Medicaid payments.
He also admitted paying bribes and kickbacks to the Medicaid patients, so they would continue using his business for their medical transportation needs. In addition to money, kickbacks might take the form of cigarettes and phone cards, or items from his convenience store in Ticonderoga. Many of the patients were attending drug rehabilitation services, with the transportation provided with federal funding for those too poor to pay for it.
Earlier Guilty Plea
In September, Anthony C. Armstrong, 29, pleaded guilty to committing healthcare fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States in connection with the scheme. Armstrong, Whitehall, admitted to conspiring with the medical transportation company owners, including the Gondal brothers, and defrauding Medicaid of at least $550,000.
He also admitted to providing $95,000 in kickbacks to Medicaid users so that they would switch from their current medical transport providers. Armstrong allowed Qaisar Gondal to use his name as a driver for fraudulent trips.
In February, Arshad Nazir, 54, Ticonderoga, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud Medicaid and conspiring to pay kickbacks and bribes to beneficiaries of Medicaid. His company, Avalanche Taxi, Inc., received $2.45 million in Medicaid payments from 2014 to 2018. In his plea, Nazir admitted perpetrating the same types of fraud as Qaisar Gondal. According to his attorney, Nazier formerly ran a legitimate taxi service, but when other medical transport companies moved into the area and began using illegal practices to take his customers away, he followed suit.
If you know of a healthcare provider or company that is cheating its patients, call us. We can assist you in putting an end to the fraud and help you receive a large cash reward for your trouble. Connect with us 888.742.7248 or ONLINE.