Detroit-Area Patient Recruiter and Physical Therapist Convicted in $1.6 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON—A federal jury in Detroit today convicted a patient recruiter and a physical therapist for their roles in a $1.6 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced 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 Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.
Reginald Smith, 54, of Flint, Michigan, a patient recruiter, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to solicit and receive health care kickbacks. Rajan Patel, 30, of Clinton Township, Michigan, a physical therapist, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, and three counts of making false statements relating to health care matters. Sentencing hearings are scheduled for April 16, 2015, and April 15, 2015, respectively, before U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow of the Eastern District of Michigan.
According to evidence presented at trial, Smith worked as a patient recruiter for Angle’s Touch Home Health Care LLC (Angle’s Touch) in 2011 and 2012. In that role, he solicited patients for foot care services at adult foster care homes. Smith then referred the patients to Angle’s Touch for medically unnecessary home health care services in exchange for kickbacks. The kickbacks were disguised as payments to Smith’s nonprofit Medicare provider, People Helping People of Detroit.
Patel worked as a physical therapist at Angle’s Touch. According to the evidence presented at trial, Patel and others recruited patients from an adult daycare center in Flint, Michigan. Patel then fabricated patient medical records to make it appear that the recruited patients qualified for and received the home health care services, when they did not.
Evidence presented at trial showed that Medicare paid Angle’s Touch over $1.6 million in the course of the conspiracy.
Four other individuals charged in this case pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with their roles in the fraud scheme.
The investigation was led by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Niall M. O’Donnell, Aisling O’Shea and Allan Medina of the 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, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with 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.