DETROIT, MI – The founder of three Detroit-area home health agencies pleaded guilty today in federal court for his role in a $22 million home health care fraud scheme.
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 Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, 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 and Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Detroit Field Office made the announcement.
Tayyab Aziz, 45, of Homer Glen, Illinois, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. His sentencing is scheduled for March 3, 2015.
According to admissions in his plea agreement, Aziz founded three Detroit-area home health care agencies, Prestige Home Health Services Inc. (Prestige), Royal Home Health Care Inc., and Platinum Home Health Services Inc. (Platinum). Using these companies, Aziz admitted that he orchestrated a conspiracy to defraud Medicare through fraudulent billings for home health care services.
Specifically, Aziz admitted that he and his co-conspirators submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary or never performed. They also submitted claims for services purportedly provided to Medicare beneficiaries who were recruited through illegal kickbacks paid to the patients and recruiters. To conceal the fraud, Aziz admitted that he and his co-conspirators created fictitious physical therapy files to document physical therapy and other services that had not actually been provided and were not medically necessary. Aziz also created and submitted falsified records to the Michigan Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP) in order for Prestige and Platinum to remain accredited Medicare providers.
As a result of Aziz’s fraudulent conduct, Medicare paid approximately $1,915,513. Five of six other defendants in this case have also previously pleaded guilty.
This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG and IRS-CI and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Niall M. O’Donnell and James P. McDonald of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 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.