Tuesday, February 13, 2018
A Detroit, Michigan-area doctor was sentenced to 72 months in prison today for his role in a $10.4 million conspiracy to defraud the Medicare program.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan, Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.
Mahmoud Rahim, M.D., 65, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmonds of the Eastern District of Micihgan. Judge Edmonds also ordered the defendant to forfeit $1,679,505. The restitution amount will be determined at a later hearing.
After a one-week trial in September 2017, Rahim was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to receive health care kickbacks and two counts of receiving healthcare kickbacks. According to the evidence presented at trial, Rahim accepted kickbacks from his co-conspirators in exchange for referring Medicare patients for electromyogram tests (EMGs), some of which were unnecessary, and physical therapy performed by unlicensed individuals. Rahim disguised these payments as “rent” and set up a shell company to hide this illegal scheme.
Rahim was charged along with office manager Janet Nahkle, 58, of Dearborn, Michigan, in an indictment returned in June 2016. Nakhle pleaded guilty to conspiracy to receive health care kickbacks in December 2016 and was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Jessica Collins and Amy Markopoulos prosecuted the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operates in nine locations nationwide. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged over 3,500 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $12.5 billion.