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72-month jail for Medicare fraud


Medicare fraud photoBY A STAFF WRITER

DETROIT (MI) — A Detroit area home health agency owner was sentenced to 72 months in prison for his role in the $13.8-million Medicare fraud scheme.

The FBI said Zahir Yousafzai, 44, was sentenced by US District Judge Gerald E. Rosen in the Eastern District of Michigan.

Yousafzai was in addition sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $4,131,135 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants.

According to court records, in 2009, Yousafzai and his co-conspirators acquired beneficial ownership and control over two home health companies, First Care Home Health Care LLC and Moonlite Home Care Inc.
He also assisted in the operation of two additional home health care agencies, Physicians Choice Home Health Care LLC and Quantum Home Care Inc., owned by co-conspirators.

Yousafzai, a physical therapist assistant, paid and directed payment of medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and physical therapists to create fictitious patient files to document purported home health services that were never provided.

Moreover, Yousafzai paid and directed the payment of kickbacks to recruiters who obtained beneficiaries’ Medicare information that he used to submit claims for home health care that was never provided.

The beneficiaries sometimes pre-signed forms that were later falsified to indicate they received home health services, when they did not. In other instances, the beneficiaries’ signatures were forged.

Yousafzai signed patient files falsely stating that physical therapy services were provided. He incorporated a shell company known as A-1 Nursing and Rehab Inc., through which he laundered the proceeds of the health care fraud.

Between July 2008 and September 2011, Medicare paid approximately $13.8 million in fraudulent home health claims submitted by the four home health agencies associated with Yousafzai.

Of this amount, Medicare paid more than $4 million to First Care and Moonlite, the companies that Yousafzai owned in whole or in part.

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