America is experiencing an opioid crisis. The epidemic stems from the fact that numerous prescription drugs are being used for recreational purposes. As a result, these drugs are causing deaths in growing numbers. How do people get their hands on prescription drugs without prescriptions? The answer is made up of the names of numerous medical industry professionals who work for profit over the health of our nation’s citizens.
38 year-old, Mashiyat Rashid is one such individual.
As reported by the United States Department of Justice this past Monday, the former CEO of the Tri-County Wellness Group of medical providers in Michigan and Ohio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, and one count of money laundering.
The guilty plea brought to a close an investigation into a $300 million health care fraud scheme that involved the distribution of over 6.6. million dosage units of controlled substances. The scheme also resulted in numerous medically unnecessary injections that resulted in patient harm.
It’s no secret that the opioid crisis in the United States is taking many lives.
Rashid’s actions are huge part of the problem. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions explains in the DoJ report, Rashid and his co-conspirators “flooded the streets” with about 4.2 million unnecessary doses of such drugs as oxycodone. The scheme also required patients to undergo expensive and unnecessary back injections in exchange for the pills.
As well, Rashid admitted that he conspired with doctors in order to get patients who were Medicare beneficiaries and wanted to obtain controlled substances to submit to expensive, medically unnecessary and painful injections. He paid the physicians based on the number of injections that Medicare paid for, whether they were medically necessary or not.
To increase revenue, the doctors conducted numerous unnecessary injections on patients.
These patients were particularly vulnerable as many of them were already addicted to opioids. When Medicare became aware of the ineligible claims, they suspended the medical billing privileges of one of the pain clinics involved in the scheme.
Rashid and his co-conspirators then created new shell companies to enroll in Medicare so that they could keep billing for the same fraudulent claims. In addition, Rashid encouraged physicians to order medically unnecessary urine drug testing from a diagnostic laboratory he owned. And once again, upon Medicare’s determination that such tests were ineligible for reimbursement, Rashid and his team created more fraudulent corporate identities.
The crackdown on the opioid crisis continues.
“Today’s guilty plea helps us bring the defendant to justice and reduce the supply of illegal drugs flowing into our communities,” Sessions is quoted as saying in the DoJ report, “Opioid prescription abuse is clearly a cause of some of the addiction we are seeing today. Successful conclusions of important cases like this one will have a great impact. We are not through yet.”
As part of Rashid’s plea agreement, he will be forfeiting $51,396,917.70 as well as all property that is traceable to the proceeds of the health care fraud scheme he was involved in. This includes $11.5 million, commercial real estate, residential real estate and a Detroit Pistons season ticket membership.
Are you an attorney who is currently trying a health care fraud case?
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