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Houston suspects charged in Medicare fraud

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Houston suspects charged in Medicare fraud
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, joined by Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (C) and Karen Ignagni, America's Health Insurance Plans, delivers remarks after a meeting announcing a public-private partnership to prevent health care fraud, at the White House on July 26, 2012 in Washington, D.C. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- An indictment unsealed Thursday charges Houston defendants with participating in a $97 million Medicare fraud scheme.

The superseding indictment names two owners of a Houston mental healthcare company, Spectrum Care P.A., some of its employees and the owners of Houston group care homes, the U.S. Justice Department said.

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Spectrum owners Mansour Sanjar, 79, Cyrus Sajadi, 64, and Chandra Nunn, 34, were originally charged in December 2011. The department said they were expected to make their initial appearances on the superseding indictment in a few days. The indictment was originally returned on July 24, but unsealed Thursday.

Adam Main, 31, Shokoufeh Hakimi, 65, Sharonda Holmes, 38, and Shawn Manney, 50, all from the Houston area, were arrested Thursday and are expected to make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Houston either Thursday or Friday.

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The indictment alleged Sanjar and Sajadi orchestrated and executed a scheme to defraud Medicare beginning in 2006 and continuing until their arrest in December 2011.

Spectrum purportedly provided partial hospitalization program services.

A PHP is a form of intensive outpatient treatment for severe mental illness. The Medicare beneficiaries for whom Spectrum billed Medicare for PHP services did not qualify for or need PHP services, the department said.

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Sanjar, Sajadi, Main and Terry Wade Moore, 51, signed admissions documents and progress notes certifying patients qualified for PHP services when, in fact, the patients did not qualify for or need PHP services, the department said. Sanjar and Sajadi also billed Medicare for PHP services when the beneficiaries were actually watching movies, coloring and playing games, the department said.

Sanjar, Sajadi and Hakimi paid kickbacks to Nunn, Holmes, Manney and other group care home operators and patient recruiters in exchange for delivering ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to Spectrum, the indictment said.

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