Clifton Ambulance Service Provider Arrested, Charged with Health Care Fraud
NEWARK, NJ—A Passaic County man who operates a lucrative New Jersey ambulance company was arrested this morning at his home by special agents of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) on charges he ran the service after being barred from doing business with Medicare and laundered government payments, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Imadeldin Awad Khair, 54, of Paterson, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of health care fraud and one count of money laundering. He is expected to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court.
According to the criminal complaint unsealed today:
As a result of his 2003 conviction on a New Jersey state health care charge, Khair was excluded from participating in any capacity in Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal health care program for a minimum period of 11 years.
Despite this, Khair has—since 2011—been an operator and a de facto owner of K & S Invalid Coach, a licensed ambulance and wheelchair transportation service operating out of Clifton, New Jersey. Nearly all of K & S’ patients are Medicare beneficiaries requiring regular transportation to dialysis treatment. Since September 2011, Medicare Part B has paid more than $6million in claims submitted by K & S. Thus far in 2014, K & S has been in the top three percent of the more than 400 ambulance transport providers in the state of New Jersey, as measured by receipt of payments from Medicare.
Since 2011, Khair and others at K & S have concealed his involvement at K & S from Medicare, including his substantial control over K & S’s bank accounts and operations, including the authority to hire and terminate employees, determine employee salaries, and enforce company policies. Since 2011, Khair has received more than $485,000 from K & S, and additional funds have been transferred to his wife.
After Medicare had directly deposited the money into a bank account in the name of K & S, Khair transferred money to various other accounts. In particular, on Nov. 15 2012, Khair wrote a check for $15,500 against a K & S operating account, made payable to an individual with the initials “E.A.,” endorsed by Khair, and deposited into an account in the name of E.A. Including this and other transactions from K & S operating accounts, Khair caused more than $86,000 to be transferred to that account. On Feb. 8, 2013, Khair caused a wire transfer in the amount of $86,295 to be made from the bank account in the name of E.A. for the purpose of completing a real estate transaction through which the property in which Khair resides was nominally transferred to E.A.
In filing the complaint, the United States is seeking to forfeit the property as proceeds and property involved in money laundering.
Each of the two counts with which Khair is charged carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; and HHS-OIG, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas O’Donnell, with the ongoing investigation leading to these charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle Alfonzo Walsman and Danielle M. Corcione of the U.S. Attorney’s Health Care and Government Fraud Unit, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Ward of the office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Fishman reorganized the health care fraud practice at the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office shortly after taking office, including creating a stand-alone Health Care and Government Fraud Unit to handle both criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud offenses. Since 2010, the office has recovered more than $540 million in health care fraud and government fraud settlements, judgments, fines, restitution and forfeiture under the False Claims Act, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and other statutes.