As the Allegiant Experts Blog has made clear over the past few years, health care fraud occurs in many ways and by many different people from all over the country. And while there are numerous physicians, health care clinic workers and pharmacists on the growing list of convicted fraudsters, it should be made clear that members of the medical community aren’t the only people who commit health care fraud.
Two cab company owners have pleaded guilty.
As reported this week by Press-Republican, the hometown newspaper of Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties in New York, two taxi and transport company owners have pleaded guilty for their roles in a multi-million dollar scam involving Medicaid and Workers Compensation. 54 year-old, Arshad Nazir and 24 year-old, Muhammad N. Jahangir entered pleas, this week, after being arrested last May for their fraudulent actions.
According to the report, the duo billed Medicaid for trips that never occurred; bribed Medicaid recipient patients with kickbacks for using their specific transport companies; failed to provide employees of the transport companies with required Workers Compensation insurance and filed documents falsely certifying required Workers Compensation coverage in order to provide Medicaid transport services.
In total, Nazir and Jahangir bilked Medicaid of several million dollars.
Their actions prompted a joint state and federal investigation that resulted in 13 arrests last May. Several other companies were also involved in the scheme.
“Nazir, the owner of Capital Medallion Inc. (DBA Avalanche Taxi), admitted in United States Court of the Northern District of New York in Albany to the federal felony crimes of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay health care kickbacks,” reports Press-Republican which notes that Nazir’s plea agreement is contingent on him also pleading guilty to the state charges at a later date.
Those charges, both felonies, include second-degree grand larceny and the Workers Compensation crime of failing to secure Workers Compensation. In total, Nazir will pay $550,000 in restitution to the New York State Department of Health, but is also expected to face up to ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he appears back in federal court for sentencing on June 18th.
“Jahangir, an owner of Capital Cab Corporation, pleaded guilty last week in Ticonderoga Town Court to petty larceny and the Workers Compensation crime of failure to secure compensation, both misdemeanors,” informs Press-Republican, “He said in court that his criminal activities were performed while acting in concert with co-defendant Khurram Gondal.”
Gondal’s charges are pending, but Jahangir is due back in Ticonderoga Town Court for sentencing on April 3rd. He is expected to pay $17,600 in restitution, says the report.
Catherine Leahy Scott, who is the New York State Workers Compensation Fraud Inspector General helped to announce the guilty pleas earlier this week. “These taxi companies plagued the Northway corridor for years,” she is quoted as saying in the report, “I thank my local, state and federal law enforcement partners for their extraordinary work throughout this two-year investigation in putting an end to these criminal practices and protecting the integrity of critical public benefits meant only for those who truly need them.”