FROM: U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Michigan Home Health Agency Owner Pleads Guilty in Connection with $2.6 Million Home Health Care Scheme
The owner of a greater Detroit-area home health care agency pleaded guilty today to fraud and money laundering charges in connection with her role in a $2.6 million home health care 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’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.
Rahmat Begum, 49, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, pleaded guilty today – during the second day of her trial – to all charges in a six-count indictment, including one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of making false statements relating to health care matters, one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and three counts of money laundering. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman of the Eastern District of Michigan.
According to admissions made as part of her guilty plea, Begum conspired to submit falsified claims to Medicare where the claims were based upon referrals obtained through illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians. Begum also admitted to conspiring to pay illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians and to making a false statement to Medicare pledging not to pay kickbacks, when in fact she was paying them. Finally, Begum admitted to laundering the proceeds of the wire fraud conspiracy.
This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG and IRS-CI and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by 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 2,100 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6.5 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.