October 8, 2014

Michigan Home Health Agency Owner Pleads Guilty in $22 Million Medicare Fraud Conspiracy

WASHINGTON—A former owner and manager of two Detroit-area home health care agencies has pleaded guilty in federal court for his role in a $22 million Medicare fraud conspiracy.

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, Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Chicago Regional Office and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman of Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

Usman Butt, 40, of Shelby Township, Michigan, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman in the Eastern District of Michigan to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and aiding or assisting in preparing a fraudulent tax return on Aug. 27, 2014, and the case was unsealed today. Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 13, 2015. His plea follows that of his former business partner and co-conspirator, Muhammad Aamir, who pleaded guilty on Aug. 20, 2014.

According to plea documents, Butt admitted that beginning in 2008 and continuing through January 2013, he conspired with others to bill Medicare for home health care services that were not actually rendered, not medically necessary, and procured through paying illegal kickbacks.

Specifically, Butt admitted that the physical therapy and skilled nursing services provided by his companies, Prestige Home Health Services Inc., based in Troy, Michigan, and Royal Home Health Care Inc., of Clawson and Troy, Michigan, were not medically necessary or even rendered. Butt also admitted that he fabricated patient files to give the false appearance that the services were medically necessary and actually provided.

During the scheme, Butt submitted or caused the submission of false claims to Medicare, which in turn caused Medicare to pay approximately $12,607,262. According to court records, the conspiracy resulted in the submission of fraudulent claims that caused Medicare to pay more than $22 million. Butt also admitted that he assisted a co-conspirator in filing a false corporate tax return for Prestige, deducting illegal kickbacks as “business expenses” to save Prestige at least $321,485 in taxes due for 2009.

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 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and 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.