A group of seven health care providers and professionals in Detroit, Michigan have been charged with fraud for scamming Medicare out of $132 million in reimbursements for medically unnecessary drugs.
According to the DOJ (Department of Justice) the defendants were led by ringleader Mashiyat Rashid, a venture capitalist from West Bloomfield Township who used the money to buy a $7 million mansion and NBA tickets.
The charges are part of the Justice Department’s recent health care fraud bust, which was the largest takedown in U.S. history and resulted in charges against 412 people across the country.
In Detroit, the Justice Department has charged Joseph Betro of Oakland County, Abdul Haq of Washtenaw County, Yasser Mozeb of Oakland County, Tariq Omar of Oakland County, Spilios Pappas of Ohio, Mohammed Zahoor of Oakland County, and Rashid. The defendants allegedly carried out their scheme at seven Detroit businesses:
- Aqua Therapy Pain Management, an aquatic therapy center,
- Global Quality, a physical therapy clinic,
- National Laboratories, a medical laboratory,
- Tri-County Wellness, a health care management company,
- New Center Medical, Tri-County Physicians, Tri-County Wellness, and Tri-State Physicians, all primary care clinics.
According to Click On Detroit, Rashid and his co-conspirators engaged in a complex scheme of kickbacks, bribes and false Medicare claims that lasted for more than a decade and cheated the U.S. out of $132 million.
Together, they purportedly created false agreements, intentionally misled the government about the true owners of each businesses, and submitted false Medicare applications and claims.
At the heart of the plot were physicians who allegedly received kickbacks in exchange for prescribing medically unnecessary drugs, including Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Opana, some of which wound up being sold as street drugs.
Allegedly, Rashid and his team even recruited homeless people and drug addicts to undergo painful and unnecessary injections in their backs, just to get the Medicare reimbursement for the treatment.
According to Justice Department trial attorney Jacob Foster, Rashid “used the proceeds of the scheme to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to sit courtside at NBA basketball games, to make $6.6 million in investments and to finance the construction of a $6.8 million house.”
Reporters at the Detroit News found posts on Rashid’s social media accounts showing him posing with a Rolls Royce and talking about flying a private jet.
Federal agents allege that Rashid confided in a colleague that he had an extensive getaway plan and storage units filled with cash, in case anyone caught onto his fraud. Just before the conspiracy headquarters were raided by the FBI in early July, Rashid allegedly went to the bank and withdrew $500,000, which he put into a duffel bag—all of which was captured on video.
Each defendant has been charged with health care fraud and conspiracy. Rashid is also charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., receiving and paying kickbacks, and money laundering.
This is supposedly Rashid’s first run-in with the law. If convicted, he may receive life in prison. Winning his case may prove difficult; according to Detroit News, his first lawyer has already asked to be removed from the case because Rashid’s assets have been seized and he cannot pay for representation.
Medicare and Medicaid fraud cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions each year. Help stop waste and healthcare program abuse. You may be eligible for a reward as a Medicaid or Medicare whistleblower. Call us or submit your information online to check your eligibility.