The Justice Department charged 23 Michigan residents with Medicare fraud on Tuesday. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The Justice Department announced the indictment of 23 Michigan residents for their alleged involvement in two schemes to defraud Medicare of more than $61.5 million through kickbacks, bribes and charging for services that were never rendered.
In an unsealed document, prosecutors said home health agency owners Walid Jamil, 62, and Jalal Jamil, 69, both of Oakland County created straw ownerships to submit about $50 million in fraudulent home healthcare claims to Medicare.
Prosecutors said their patients did not need home healthcare, did not qualify for it under Medicare rules nor received care. Through their relationship with physician clients, though, Walid and Jalal Jamil allegedly received enough information to fraudulently bill Medicare.
The Justice Department said it believes that Walid and Jalal Jamil illegally received more than $43 million from Medicare.
"As alleged, the defendants and theirs-conspirators repeatedly paid illegal bribes and kickbacks so they could submit claims for medically unnecessary home health services throughout the Detroit metropolitan area, exposing patients to needless physician services and drug testing and costing Medicare tens of millions of dollars," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said in a statement.
"As these actions demonstrate, we will work tirelessly to tackle complex, illegal schemes that take advantage of vulnerable populations and defraud federal programs of taxpayer dollars meant to provide health care to millions of Americans."
U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison called the ruse "an astonishing abuse" of the U.S. healthcare system. She said the suspects did not care about the patients or healthcare but lining their pockets with cash.
Other suspects worked for the Jamils who made illegal payments to patient recruiters and submitted false claims to Medicare. Some even posed as straw owners of one of the Jamil home health agencies.
In one example, an operator of a home-visiting physician company allegedly ordered the physicians he employed to certify patients referred by Walid Jamil and Jalal Jamil for medically unnecessary home health services and then billed Medicare for services that were never rendered.