The term “ambulance chaser” refers to lawyers who help clients to obtain damages related to a personal injury. The man at the center of today ‘s “Fraud of the Day” could be called a “fraud chaser” because he used his ambulance company to chase after $9 million in Medicaid and Medicare benefits he did not deserve.
This was not the first time the man had been caught participating in a government healthcare benefits fraud scheme. He was previously sentenced to three years in prison for submitting fraudulent claims to Medicaid. However, he was permitted to enter an intensive supervision program after just six months in prison.
As part of a plea deal in this man ‘s first brush with the law, he signed a consent agreement that barred him from participating in state and federal healthcare programs. At that time, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a final notice to the man and his attorney explaining that he would be excluded from Medicare and Medicaid programs for a minimum of 11 years and that reinstatement was not guaranteed. (The lawyer says the letter was never received.)
Shortly after his release from prison, he started another illegal ambulance transportation business, this time under his brother ‘s name. Within four years, he had submitted more than $9 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare and Medicaid claiming he had provided ambulatory transportation for dialysis patients.
When agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and HHS searched the ambulance company ‘s business office during a raid, investigators found that the employees lied about the position the convicted fraudster held within the company. Apparently, a text message went out telling employees to say that he was an occasional visitor to the company and that his brother was in charge. (It ‘s important to note that his brother ‘s widow, who was the company ‘s owner on paper, had already left the U.S. owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the government.) Further investigation revealed that he created fake pay stubs to legitimize his claim.
While in charge at the company, the man also “cooked” the books. He paid many of his employees in cash and did not withhold payroll taxes. This was all part of his tax evasion scheme. When the Department of Labor opened an investigation into the company ‘s payroll practices, the man hired an employee to alter company records, concealing the underreporting of wages and payroll taxes.
On the first day of the 57-year-old man ‘s trial, he tried to influence a witness outside of the courtroom by claiming he had many employees who would testify that his brother was the one in charge. (He was relying on the fact that his dead brother wouldn’t rat on him and hoping that his bullying attempt would keep witnesses quiet.)
After a nine-day bench trial, the man was convicted of healthcare fraud and money laundering charges. He was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison. (While this man kept trying to convince everyone he was not in charge, it is clear the federal government was definitely large and in charge of this successful prosecution.)
Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Clifton ambulance operator gets 18 years for fraud,” posted on NorthJersey.com on January 30, 2017.
A 57-year-old Clifton man who was convicted on health-care fraud and money-laundering charges as part of operating his illegal ambulance company, was sentenced on Monday to 18 years in federal prison.
Imadeldin Awad Khair was convicted following a nine-day bench trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton. He had been previously convicted on state health-care fraud charges in 2004 and was barred from working with health-care programs for 11 years.